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How Salt Affect Your Body

The subject of blood pressure usually doesn't concern the kidneys.


But when these bean-shaped organs are injured or thrown out of balance, the blood pressure and heart may experience the cumulative consequences of the injury.


Your kidney filters over 120 liters of blood every day. These toxins and undesirable fluids are removed from cells throughout the body and are then ultimately released into the bladder.


Excess dietary salt can make it more difficult for kidneys to remove fluid and can increase your blood pressure.


The Process of Damage to Your Heart


High salt intake over a long period can lead to high blood pressure and narrowed blood vessels. Oxygen flow decreases, and blood flow to key organs decreases. So, the heart tries to pump more blood as quickly as possible all throughout the body, which subsequently increases blood pressure.


Elevated blood pressure, especially over a long time, places tremendous stress on the heart. It can enlarge the left chamber and weaken the heart muscle (heart failure).


Untreated high blood pressure is dangerous because it damages the arteries, leading to heart disease or heart attack.


The Effects of Hypertension on Your Kidneys


The chicken-or-egg effect is prevalent in how high blood pressure and kidney disease are connected. Hypertension can cause the kidneys to scar, leading to hypertension. This affects the kidneys' ability to regulate fluid, which can lead to high blood pressure.


"Hypertension and diabetes mellitus are, by far, the most common causes of kidney failure."


Many individuals with kidney disease do not know about it. The symptoms can be attributed to other ailments and usually appear after the kidneys are already in serious condition. Symptoms are signs to watch for:


· Unexplained Fatigue

· Sleep Difficulties

· Dry Skin

· Reduced Urine

· Blood or Discoloration of the Urine

· Swelling Around Eyes

· Loss of Appetite, Nausea, or Vomiting

· Muscle Fatigue

· Confusion


If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, particularly if you are at risk of developing kidney disease because of being over sixty years of age or having high blood pressure, diabetes, or having a family history of kidney failure, talk to your doctor about your kidney health and salt intake.


A Study of Salt Sensitivity

Salt can affect people differently. Some people are tolerant to high levels of sodium. For others who are 'salt sensitive,' too much salt can decrease kidney function, subsequently resulting in increased blood pressure.

Salt sensitivity is most prevalent among overweight and obese individuals and is particularly high between African Americans and the elderly. As individuals get older, the tendency to become salt sensitive increases.


Amounts Recommendations


There is just not enough evidence to demonstrate a Dietary Guidelines Allowance or to establish a safe level of sodium in food (aside from chronic disease risk). For this reason, an established tolerance level (UL) has not been established, so the maximum daily intake is not likely to cause harmful effects.


AI guidelines for sodium were developed based on the lowest sodium levels used in trials that did not show a deficiency, but that allowed for a sufficient intake of nutritious foods naturally high in sodium. For men and women between 14 and 18 years of age, and pregnant women, the recommended amount of salt is 1,500 mg a day.


There is an established level of salt intake, based on the impact of a reduced sodium intake on the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Decreasing sodium intake below DRR is deemed to be beneficial to the general healthy population. The CDRR recommends 2,300 milligrams a day for men and women 14 years of age and older and pregnant women for chronic disease reduction. Most Americans exceed the AI and CDR sodium intake guidelines.



Lifestyle Modifications Can Help


One of the first steps to good health will be for people to change their lifestyles by:


· Consuming no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day (the American Heart Association recommends this for most adults) if you are at risk

· Restricting alcohol

· Regular exercise

· Being active and healthy


Even with appropriate lifestyle changes and dietary salt reduction, blood pressure remains high. In addition to lifestyle changes, medications are also often needed to lower blood pressure. Common examples of medications are:


Diuretics, which increase urination to rid the body of extra water.


Angiotensin II receptor blockers or ACE inhibitors, which relaxes these blood vessels.


Besides helping to keep your diabetes and hypertension in check, your doctor may test you as needed for kidney disease.

Work with your doctor to ensure that you are consuming enough salt, which reduces high blood pressure and protects against heart disease and diabetes.


References:


https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/g19988818/how-salt-affects-your-body/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770596/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-trouble-with-excess-salt

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