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Health Risks of Too Much Salt Intake

health risks of too much salt

July 18, 2017

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Even though sodium is essential for our bodies, we should be very careful about its consumption. On one hand, it assists our organs to maintain an appropriate fluid balance, helps our muscles to contract, allows impulses to be transmitted via nerve cells, and performs other useful functions. On the other hand, too much salt consumption can have a very negative influence on our body.

Salt Balance

Our bodies have mechanisms, which take care of proper salt balance in our tissues and cells. When there’s not enough sodium, our sweat gets dilute and our kidneys stop producing the urine on the average level, which holds sodium in our bodies. When sodium consumption exceeds normal, our kidneys start to utilize water to create salty urine. In case our consumption of sodium becomes very high, our bodies hold water in order to dilute excessive sodium. It results in the increased blood pressure and causes long-term health issues.

High Blood Pressure

When there’s too much sodium in our bodies, it increases the volume of blood and when that happens, blood starts to put additional pressure in arteries, thus increasing the blood pressure. High blood pressure results in the stiffening of the vessel walls, which makes them lose their elasticity. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, may have no effects for years so you may have it without knowing anything about it. However, with the passage of time, it can lead to such dire consequences as a heart attack or stroke.

Long-Term Effects

According to the study published in “British Medical Journal” in 2009, cardiovascular disease is an indispensable companion of high salt intake. The study has evaluated 177,000 people trying to find parallels between the level of salt intake and incidence of a stroke and heart disease. The results of the research shows it clear that those who had high salt intake had a much higher chance of getting a stroke or heart disease than those who consumed less sodium. Harvard School of Public Health states that excessive salt intake can also be connected with thinning of bones and osteoporosis because salt removes calcium to form bones. Another negative long-term effect of excessive salt intake is stomach cancer.

Recommendations

This information doesn’t mean that you should abstain from the consumption of salt completely. It simply means that you have to limit it to a certain degree. For adults, the daily intake of salt should be no more than 2,300 milligrams or 1 teaspoon. However, those who are at salt risks should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams a day. According to the American Heart Association, most children and adults (97%) exceed the recommended daily consumption, exposing themselves to the long-term consequences of high sodium intake. In order to consume less salt, substitute it with salt alternatives or other spices with similar qualities. Also look at the labels to identify products with high sodium intake and avoid or limit their consumption.

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