People working in the salt factories may be at a heightened risk from hypertension as they inhale salt during their course of work.
Scientists from the Desert Medicine Research Centre in Jodhpur, India had measured the blood pressure of workers in two salt milling factories in Rajasthan.
AdvertisementThey divided the workers into two groups: those working close to a salt milling plant and were directly involved in crushing, grinding, milling and packing salt and those who worked far away from the salt milling plant and were much less exposed to salt particles.
The results of the study show that the first group of workers had a mean systolic blood pressure of 122.1 mmHg, which is significantly higher than the mean systolic blood pressure of 118.8 mmHg measured in the second group.
In addition, workers from the first group had an incidence of hypertension of 12.2 percent compared to an incidence of 7.0 percent in the second group.
Wearing facemasks and plastic spectacles for four days caused the mean systolic blood pressure of workers from the first group to drop significantly from 127.8 mmHg on the first day to 117.5 mmHg on the fourth day, the study said.
"This is a new observation, though it is in line with the hypothesis that, after being inhaled, salt may be absorbed from respiratory tract or the gastrointestinal tract. Consequent increases in plasma sodium may be responsible for increase in blood pressure," the researchers said.
Their findings also suggest that workers in factories such as the ones studied could easily protect themselves from the negative effects of exposure to salt particles by wearing masks and glasses.
A high consumption of salt is known to be directly linked to high blood pressure and the development of cardiovascular and kidney diseases, which are major causes of mortality worldwide.
Medindia on Hypertension: Further information
Hypertension: This means high blood pressure. When the systolic blood pressure is over 140 and the diastolic blood pressure is over 90 consistently, then the person is said to suffer from hypertension. Essential hypertension may be caused by genetics, diet, intake of salt, and other environmental factors. A host of other physical; conditions like tumors, kidney disorders, medications etc can also called hypertension, but of a secondary nature.
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