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The Effects of Sodium and Blood Pressure

Jan 17, 2008
If you're someone who has gotten a blood pressure reading that has made you and your doctor both frown, you may have already been warned about the connection between sodium and blood pressure problems. Just how does this tasty little additive affect your blood pressure this way, and why is it important to avoid it when trying to correct your situation? This article will take a quick look at this issue, and hopefully convince you of the connection between sodium and blood pressure so that you'll be more prepared to watch your diet for the sake of your health.

Arterial Pressure and Fluid Retention

Salt is constructed in such a way that it holds fluid. In very olden times, it was used as a preservative for meats before there was refrigeration, because it held the fluids of the meat in its natural state, not allowing it to be affected by outside air and contaminants.

In the body, the connection between sodium and blood pressure seem to be that when you have a lot of salt or sodium in your diet, you retain water. Your kidneys do not work as efficiently as they normally do, and when you have more fluid in your body, your heart needs to work harder to pump blood.

Sodium and blood pressure also seem to be linked by how salt causes the arteries to constrict; again, it holds in those natural fluids and does not allow them to move freely. When the arteries are constricted, the heart works harder to push the blood through them.

Another connection between sodium and blood pressure seems to be the types of foods that a person eats when they consume sodium. Rarely does anyone put salt on a salad or piece of fruit, but it's often canned foods, junk foods, processed foods, bagged snacks, and red meats that contain salt or sodium.

All of these foods are very difficult for the body to digest, which causes your blood pressure to rise. The heart needs to send more blood to the stomach and intestines when you eat something harsh and unnatural, so that those two organs can do their job better. The connection between high sodium and blood pressure is not just salt on its own, but the fact that all these unhealthy foods usually contain salt. People often don't realize that salty bagged snacks are actually deep friend, including potato chips, pretzels, and so on. Fast foods are also very high in salt, and very low in fiber and other ingredients that make them healthy for the system.

What's the Risk?

Some have argued against the connection between sodium and blood pressure, believing it to be something of an urban myth or that it's really other minerals in salty foods that cause this rise in pressure. However, it is scientific fact that those who cut down on sodium and salty foods when battling a blood pressure problem seem to do better than those who do not.

If your doctor has warned you against the connection between sodium and blood pressure, you do well to heed his or her advice. High blood pressure is dangerous and even deadly, and not worth the taste of salt at all.

Always consult your doctor before using this information.

This Article is nutritional in nature and is not to be construed as medical advice.
About the Author
David Cowley has created numerous articles on heart disease. He has also created a Web Site dedicated to heart disease and how to treat them. Visit Heart Disease
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