Salt Bad for More than Blood Pressure

A recent study warns even if you don’t have high blood pressure or develop it from eating too much salt in your diet, you may still be doing serious damage to your body – namely blood vessels, heart, kidneys and brain.

The old adage has always been if someone develops high blood pressure then they are at risk for a host of heart and kidney issues. However, the new study found that high levels of sodium consumption have a harmful effect on organs and tissues, even for those who are ‘salt resistant,’ which essentially means their salt intake doesn’t affect their blood pressure as it does with others who are more easily diagnosed.

What high salt consumption can lead to is reduced function of endothelium, which is the inner lining of blood vessels. Endothelial cells are involved in a number of bodily processes, including blood clotting and immune function. High salt levels can also increase stiffness in arteries according to researchers.

Researchers also pointed out that high dietary sodium can also lead to left ventricular hypertrophy or enlargement of the muscle tissue that makes up the wall of the heart’s main pumping chamber. As the walls of the chamber grow thicker, they become less compliant and eventually are unable to pump as forcefully as a healthy heart does.

High salt intake can also harm kidney function and may also affect the nervous system, which triggers what is commonly known as ‘fight or flight’ response.

Continually high dietary sodium levels may sensitize sympathetic neurons in the brain, causing a greater response to a variety of stimuli, including skeletal muscle contraction.

All of this, even if blood pressure isn’t increased, chronically increased sympathetic outflow may have numerous harmful effects on major organs.

The study was published in the March 17th issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Need another reason to switch to a sodium-restricted diet? Look no further than Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating. We can help you make the change, give us a call at 1-800-442-DIET (3438) or visit us at seattlesutton.com.

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Want one more reason NOT to drink diet soda? Researchers recently unveiled a study showing that drinking diet soda has an impact on one’s ever-growing waistline as we age. The diet soda drinkers compared to nondrinkers had a higher body mass index and waist size than those who did not drink it. These interesting study findings are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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