A recent review, conducted by researchers from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, found that women of all ages are more salt sensitive than men, which may influence their blood pressure control.
It has long been recognized that men under 65 have an increased risk of hypertension compared to women, but the risk goes up for women after menopause onset. The authors of the current review suggest that because females are predisposed to salt sensitivity, which may raise blood pressure, the reality is not as simple as that.
Researchers say that human and laboratory animal evidence shows that female kidneys are better at excreting salt. The problem, however, is with the vasculature, because salt should relax the blood vessels too, but it does not in those individuals who are salt-sensitive.
Sebnem Unluisler, M.Sc., a genetic engineer at the London Regenerative Institute, says: “Although sex steroid hormones are important in the regulation of the cardiovascular system, new research suggests that sex chromosomes may also be involved. […] Increased vascular resistance from salt sensitivity leads to endothelial dysfunction, which may be more of a factor in females than in males.”