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Can Sodium Cause High Blood Pressure

Sodium And Potassium In The Body

Sodium causes high blood pressure?

Potassium is important for the nerves, muscles and heart to work properly. It also helps to lower blood pressure. However, some people with kidney disease, or who are taking some medications, need to be careful not to get too much potassium in their diet.Our bodies are designed for a high-potassium diet, not a high-salt diet. Food processing tends to lower the potassium levels in many foods while increasing the sodium content. It is much better to eat unprocessed foods such as fruit, vegetables and lean meats, eggs, fish and other healthy, everyday foods. When selecting processed everyday foods such as wholegrain breads and cereals, select lower salt options. Foods high in potassium include bananas, apricots, mushrooms and spinach.

Potassium As Important As Sodium

The importance of dietary potassium is also underlined in this study. The team found that individuals with the lowest blood pressure were those who had the highest intake of sodium and potassium. Conversely, those with the highest blood pressure had the lowest intake of sodium and potassium.

Moore says: This study and others point to the importance of higher potassium intakes, in particular, on blood pressure and probably cardiovascular outcomes as well.

Similar effects were also seen when magnesium and calcium intakes were analysed higher levels were linked to lower blood pressure, and vice versa.

The authors conclude that:

These long-term data from the Framingham Study provide no support for lowering sodium intakes among healthy adults to below 2.3 grams per day as recommended. This study does support the finding of a clear inverse association between potassium, magnesium, and calcium and blood pressure change over time.

Moore wants her study to play a part in shifting dietary decisions throughout the U.S. She says: I hope that this research will help refocus the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans on the importance of increasing intakes of foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium for the purpose of maintaining a healthy blood pressure.

As more studies conclude that sodiums role in hypertension is less vital than once thought, dietary recommendations are sure to change in line with the findings. This changing field of nutrition science is one to watch.

High Sodium Intake And Other Health Conditions

Excessive sodium intake has also been linked to other conditions, such as:

A high level of salt intake increases the amount of calcium excreted in the urine, which may also contribute to osteoporosis and increased risk of fracture.The balance of sodium and water in the body can also be disrupted if there is not enough water. This may be caused by a damaged thirst mechanism or by limited access to water. Hypernatremia is a very serious condition that occurs when your sodium levels rise above 145 milliequivalents per litre . It can lead to death. A major symptom is thirst and treatment usually involve controlled water replacement.

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Many People Suffer From High Blood Pressure By Staying Up Late

If you do not sleep well at night, your blood pressure at night will not get a good rest due to sympathetic nerves, and even anxiety will be caused by insomnia, which will cause your blood pressure to rise, and it is easy to form abnormal blood pressure changes. And this kind of damage cant be made up by restoring sleep the next day.

Reduce Salt When Eating Cooking Or Preparing Meals

Best Ways To Control High Blood Pressure (Hypertension ...


  • Using dry or fresh herbs like parsley, oregano, thyme, dill, basil or a dry herb mix to add flavour.
  • Using spices and other flavour enhancers like garlic and chili.
  • Lemon or lime juices are excellent flavour enhancers and often make meats more tender.
  • Experiment with small amounts and use a recipe book to get ideas on what flavours go well together. .
  • If you currently use quite a lot of salt in cooking or at the table, reducing this is even more important. For the average person, this accounts for around 25% of their total salt intake and is one easy action you can take to reduce your sodium intake.
  • Some people believe sea salt is a healthier alternative to normal table salt, but both are composed of sodium chloride so are best avoided.
  • Avoid fast foods and takeaway foods that are high in salt.
  • Ask for less salt when dining out you may even like to provide feedback to businesses if their dishes appear salty).

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Docusate Sodium And Blood Pressure

While, chemically, docusate sodium contains the mineral known to raise blood pressure, it does not cause an increase in blood pressure, according to the website But you should consult your doctor or physician if you are concerned about taking the medication. It is also important to note that heart palpitations are an adverse reaction related to the use of docusate sodium, as well as dizziness, fainting, abdominal pain, excessive bowel elimination and weakness.

Sodium Intake And Blood Pressure Values

Available evidence suggests a direct relationship between sodium intake and blood pressure values . Excessive sodium consumption has been shown to produce a significant increase in BP and has been linked with onset of hypertension and its cardiovascular complications . Conversely, reduction in sodium intake not only decreases BP levels and hypertension incidence, but is also associated with a reduction in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality . A large meta-analysis showed that modest reduction in salt intake for four or more weeks causes a significant fall in BP in both hypertensive and normotensive individuals, irrespective of sex and ethnic group, and larger reductions in salt intake are linked to larger falls in systolic BP . However, the current health policies have not reached an effective achievement for the reduction of dietary sodium in the population and the positive effects of a reduced sodium intake on BP levels tend to decrease with time, owing to poor dietary compliance.

In this paper, we have reviewed the evidence regarding the effects of sodium intake on arterial function, and their implication in the pathogenesis of hypertension. We have first addressed the debate on salt-sensitivity, in light of recent evidence, and then discussed the effects of sodium handling on arterial function and structure.

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Sodium And Blood Pressure Medications

There are many different classes of blood pressure medications, or antihypertensives. The amount of sodium you consume can affect the action of some types of blood pressure medications. For other antihypertensives, sodium consumption can indirectly affect your need for them by affecting your blood pressure levels.

These are some of the most common medications prescribed to lower blood pressure.

Medication Type
Open the blood vessels further May be less effective when sodium consumption is high

Taking medications as prescribed is one of the most important steps you can take to lower blood pressure. Lark can help remind you to take medications and track adherence so you know how well you are following doctors orders.

Signs Of Deficiency And Toxicity

Controlling High Blood Pressure 10 High Sodium Foods To Avoid


A deficiency of sodium in the U.S. is rare because it is so commonly added to a wide variety of foods and occurs naturally in some foods. Hyponatremia is the term used to describe abnormally low amounts of sodium in the blood. This occurs mainly in older adults, particularly those living in long-term care facilities or hospitals who take medications or have health conditions that deplete the body of sodium, leading to hyponatremia. Excess vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating can also cause hyponatremia if salt is lost in these fluids that are expelled from the body. Sometimes too much fluid abnormally collecting in the body can lead to hyponatremia, which might stem from diseases such as heart failure or liver cirrhosis. In rare cases, simply drinking too much fluid can lead to hyponatremia if the kidneys cant excrete the excess water. Symptoms of hyponatremia can include: nausea, vomiting, headaches, altered mental state/confusion, lethargy, seizures, coma.


The interplay of sodium and potassium

A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that:

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Sodium In Medications Supplements And Pick

Effervescent and soluble tablets and powders that you add to water contain sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate to make them fizz. For example, vitamin C supplements like Berocca, and soluble painkillers such as aspirin and Alka Seltzer.

The amount of sodium in these products can be equivalent to 1g of salt. This can really add to your daily salt intake so try to avoid these and use tablets instead.

Are There Other Ways To Reduce Blood Pressure

  • Cutting down on the amount of salt we eat helps reduce blood pressure. But our whole diet is also important, as is being a healthy body weight, and if drinking alcohol doing so in moderation.
  • An example of a dietary pattern shown to improve blood pressure is the DASH diet. It emphasises a good intake of fruit and vegetables, low fat milk and milk products , choosing wholegrain foods, poultry, fish and nuts and eating less fats, red meat, sweets and sugary drinks. The DASH diet has a higher intake of potassium, calcium, magnesium and fibre. Saturated fat intake is lower than the typical Western diet, and protein intake is higher.

Our ‘Salt and the heart’ evidence paper recommends we continue to reduce dietary salt intakes, you can read more about our recommendations around salt and the heart in our Sodium Position Statement .

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Myth : If You Had High Blood Pressure Caused By Too Much Salt Youd Be Able To Tell

More than 30% of Australian adults have high blood pressure, and according to the Heart Foundation, half of them dont even know it.

Most people with high blood pressure dont display any symptoms, so its important to get your blood pressure checked regularly. If you do have high blood pressure, reducing salt, along with getting regular physical activity, moderating alcohol intake, quitting smoking and reducing stress, might help manage it, reducing the risk of damage to your body.

You can find out more about blood pressure here.

How Does Salt Affect Blood Pressure

Can a low
  • Research shows a strong relationship between the amount of salt consumed and raised levels of blood pressure.1
  • When salt intake is reduced, blood pressure begins falling within weeks in most people.3
  • In countries where people consume diets low in salt, people do not experience the increase in blood pressure with age that is seen in most Western countries.1
  • Reducing sodium intake lowers blood pressure, with greater effects among people with hypertension.4*

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High Blood Pressure Can Increase Your Risk Of Diabetes Check Now

Chances are, lowering intake at all can help. As you keep logging food with Lark, you can see about how much sodium you are having and possibly identify a few of the foods that may be adding significant amounts to your totals.

Since sodium and blood pressure are closely related, it helps to get a handle on sodium so you can control how much you have. Knowing how much you are eating and where the top sources are, as well as swaps to lower intake, can lead to better blood pressure control without much effort or stress. Logging with Lark lets you find out about your habits and get personalized feedback and guidance as you go.

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How Would I Know If I Have Low Blood Pressure

The only way to tell would be to get your blood pressure checked, he confirms. Any reading under 90/60 millimeters of mercury is considered low.

However, there may be signs including:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

These symptoms tend to occur more when someone goes from lying down or sitting to then standing, he adds.

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Myth : You Should Eat Or Drink More Salt After Working Out

Salt comes out of your body in two ways through urine and through perspiration but that doesnt mean you need to add extra salt to your diet every time you break a sweat.

Some products, like sports drinks, are advertised as a good way to replace lost salts after working out. Under usual circumstances, sports drinks that contain electrolytes are not necessary for rehydration the process of replacing lost fluids and salts. Tap water and consuming a healthy diet will help replace any nutrients lost during any activity. You can read more about good hydration and how to avoid dehydration here.

Sports drinks can be used to rehydrate if you have exercised continuously for 90 minutes or more. If youre thinking about starting a new and more strenuous exercise regime and wondering about how to rehydrate properly, its a good idea to talk to your doctor about how this might affect your health and your dietary needs.

How Does Salt Raise Your Blood Pressure

1 Month Without Salt! – Does Salt Cause High Blood Pressure?

Salt makes your body hold onto water. If you eat too much, the extra water in your blood means there is extra pressure on your blood vessel walls, raising your blood pressure.

If you already have high blood pressure, too much salt will raise it further, and may mean that any blood pressure medicines youre taking don’t work as well as they should.

Cutting down on salt is one of the simplest ways to lower your blood pressure, and will start to make a difference very quickly, even within weeks.

Eating too much salt can lead to all the health problems high blood pressure causes, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and some types of dementia.

Salt and your kidneys

Your kidneys play an important role in removing fluid and waste products from your body and in controlling your blood pressure. Eating too much salt makes them less able to do their job, raising your blood pressure and leading to kidney disease.

Your kidneys filter out excess fluid from your blood, which then collects in your bladder to be removed as urine. They draw water out of your blood through osmosis where the water travels from the blood which is relatively low in sodium into channels which are higher in sodium sodium is the part of salt that raises your blood pressure.

Eating too much salt raises the amount of sodium in your blood, throwing off this fine balance of sodium and water, and damaging the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys.

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Myth : Some People Naturally Crave More Salt Than Others

Good news for those who think theyre naturally a salt eater the taste for salty foods is learned, rather than built in. Its possible to retrain your taste buds to like foods with less salt in them, itll just take a little time.

Try these tips from Eat for Health for eating less salt:

  • eat mostly fresh food instead of processed food which tend to be high in added salt
  • go for packaged and canned foods labelled no added salt, low salt or salt reduced
  • compare similar packaged foods by looking at the food labels and choosing the item with less sodium
  • swap deli meats like ham for canned fish or leftover meat from your last meal
  • use small amounts of sauces with a high salt content
  • flavour your cooking with a variety of herbs and spices
  • avoid adding salt at the table you could even leave the salt grinder in the cupboard.

How Common Is High Blood Pressure In Europe

In 2015, an estimated 1.13 billion people were living with high blood pressure globally, of which 150 million were living in Europe .4 Although the prevalence of high blood pressure in many European countries has decreased slightly in recent years, current levels are still of great concern. Reducing salt intake remains an important public health strategy to decrease levels further.

As with salt intake, the prevalence of high blood pressure tends to be higher for men than for women . The exact reason for this difference is not fully understood, but higher intakes of salt may be partly to blame.

Figure 2. Prevalence of high blood pressure 140 mmHg OR diastolic blood pressure > 90 mmHg) in men and women across European countries.4

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A New Look At Sodium And Blood Pressure

Moore and her team took data from 2,632 men and women aged between 30 and 64 years, who were part of the Framingham Offspring Study an offshoot of the Framingham Heart Study. All participants had normal blood pressure at the start of the trial.

Over the 16-year follow-up period, the researchers observed that the participants who consumed under 2,500 milligrams of sodium each day had higher blood pressure than those who consumed higher quantities of sodium.

The results seem counterintuitive. As the authors write: While we expected dietary sodium intake to be positively associated with both SBP and DBP , the opposite was found.

Although the findings appear to kick against the status quo, they are in line with other recent studies asking similar questions. Research has shown that there is a J-shaped relationship between cardiovascular risk and sodium. This means that low-sodium diets and very high-sodium diets both carry a higher risk of heart disease.

Many people in the United States sit in the middle of this curve, where the cardiovascular risk is at its lowest.

We saw no evidence that a diet lower in sodium had any long-term beneficial effects on blood pressure. Our findings add to growing evidence that current recommendations for sodium intake may be misguided.

Lynn L. Moore


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