A high-salt diet is believed to be responsible for 20 percent to 40 percent of all cases of high blood pressure.
A Dutch study of 5,556 men and women found that a high salt diet was linked to increased levels of uric acid and albumin over time.
The existence of these two things indicates damage to blood vessels.
The levels were measured in urine samples and it was found that the higher the level of these two markers, the greater the risk of developing high blood pressure.
People with the highest salt intake were 21pc more likely to develop high blood pressure.
Those who had high uric acid levels and ate the most salt were 32pc more likely to develop hypertension while those with high albumin levels and high salt intake were 86pc more likely to develop high blood pressure.
The salt levels in the participants diet ranged from 2.2 grams a day to 6.2 grams a day at the highest end
One gram of sodium is equal to 2.5 grams of table salt (sodium chloride).
The study’s results “add to the considerable evidence that a diet heavy on salt is closely linked to high blood pressure,” said Dr John Forman, lead author of the study and a nephrologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.
“In addition, this study reinforces guidelines backed by the American Heart Association and other professional organizations that recommend reducing salt consumption to minimize the risk of developing high blood pressure,” he added.
Researchers followed up the participants over a period of six years and 878 new diagnoses of high blood pressure were made.
The report is published in the American Heart Association Journal Circulation