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How salt can affect your blood pressure?
Posted on: July 01st, 2019

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When you think about blood pressure, you may not remember your kidneys.

But when these bean-shaped organs are damaged or unbalanced, perhaps by a large intake of salt, both your blood pressure and your heart can feel the repercussions.

Eating too much salt can make it harder for the kidneys to eliminate the fluid, which builds up in your system and increase your blood pressure.

 

How does this affect the heart?

Over time, excessive salt intake can cause high blood pressure (hypertension), which hardens and narrows blood vessels. The blood and oxygen flow to the key organs decreases. Therefore, the heart strives more to pump blood throughout the body, which further increases blood pressure.

Uncontrolled hypertension can also damage the walls of the arteries, which begin to accumulate fat, leading to heart disease and, possibly, a heart attack or stroke.

How does this affect the kidneys?

Hypertension exerts additional pressure on the filtering units of the kidneys, which can cause scarring. This affects the ability of the kidneys to regulate the fluid, which increases blood pressure.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people with kidney disease do not realize they have it. The signs and symptoms can be attributed to other conditions, and usually appear when the kidneys have already started to fail. These are the symptoms to consider:

  • Unusual fatigue.
  • Sleeping problems.
  • Itching of dry skin.
  • Decreased urination.
  • Blood or foam in the urine.
  • Swelling in the ankles, feet or around the eyes.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Muscle cramps.

Salt affects people differently. Some people can consume sodium without affecting their blood pressure. But for others, even a slight increase in sodium intake wreaks havoc on the kidneys' ability to regulate fluid and increase blood pressure.

Salt sensitivity is more common among middle-aged and older people, overweight and obese, and African-Americans.

Change in lifestyle to improve this situation.

  • Eat a diet low in sodium (less than 2 grams of sodium per day), especially if you are at risk.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Keep a healthy weight.

 

However, you may also need medications to lower blood pressure, such as:

  • Diuretics or water pills, which increase urination to help discharge excess fluid.
  • Inhibitors of angiotensin-converting enzyme (tablets for hypertension)

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