Scientific studies have shown that a high-sodium, low-potassium diet increases the risk for a fatal heart attack. If you are in your 30’s and your regular blood pressure reading is at 140/90 mm Hg, then you ought to go easy on the salt.
A doctor who is practicing cardiology here in Gunnison should be able to explain in detail the lifestyle changes you have to make to lessen the risks. For now, you can read more about the relationship between high salt intake and hypertension and start rethinking your dietary choices.
The problem with too much salt
Salt consists of sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl)ions – about 40% Na and 60% Cl. We all know its uses as a condiment, and as a stabilizer and binder. What we don’t always realize it that salt is essential to bodily functions. In the body, sodium is essential for the depolarization of cells.
The problem with excess sodium is that it holds onto water. When there is too much sodium in the cells, water accumulates in the spaces between the cells and in the bloodstream. When there is too much fluid, the pumping action of the heart is affected, and the arteries are compromised.
The circulatory system itself becomes overwhelmed. In time, the entire cardiovascular system will be under too much stress. This an oversimplification, but it is quite clear from the explanation above how too much salt in the diet leads to cardiovascular disease.
Aside from increased pressure in the heart and the arteries, excess salt in the body alters kidney function as well. The kidney filters out impurities, but when there’s too much salt to deal with, the kidneys lose the capacity to remove water from the body.
When there are too much water and the pressure increases, the blood vessels in the kidney could be damaged.The delicate balance is difficult to restore when the problem arises within the walls of the arteries themselves. As such, a person with hypertension from excess salt may suffer from kidney failure in the end.
Often, symptoms of kidney disease manifest late in the game, and it could already be too late.
Salt finds you
You may be surprised to find out you’re taking in too much salt. After all, you don’t bring out the salt shaker every time you sit down for a meal. However, certain foods are salt-rich, particularly commercially prepared meals and processed foods.
According to nutritionists, the typical American is largely unaware that some of the top sources of sodium are savory snacks, pieces of bread, omelets and popular takeouts such as sandwiches, tacos, and pizza.
A typical American’s diet is very likely to be high in salt content. You must start making healthier choices now. Choose unprocessed foods and cook with less salt. If you already put salt as a seasoning, refrain from adding more salt or salty condiments on the table.
Cutting back on the salt improves heart health and gives you a better chance to live a long and productive life.