Does salt increase Hypertension complications?
Does salt increase hypertension complications? You tend to ask yourself this question because of the fear of your salt consumption rate. Salt restriction has encountered significant controversies as a recommendation to the general public in prevention and aiding the treatment of hypertension and overweight-associated pre-hypertension. It should be clear that there is a difference in sodium regulation between overweight and lean hypertensive patients. In overweight and obese patients, insulin acts to retain sodium and water, which could increase BP.
The first week of taking a low caloric diet causes a sodium chloride and water diuresis (increase in urination) leading to weight loss and a decrease in BP. So if weight management is successful, sodium restriction becomes a secondary consideration.
While the sodium consumed is generally excreted in normal individuals, in overweight patients resistant to weight management, there is an argument that sodium increases BP and should be reduced.
Here are some tips you can use to maintain a salt restricted diet;
- Check the nutrition labels on packaged foods, because up to 75% of the sodium consumed is hidden in processed foods. Watch for the words soda and sodium and the symbol Na on labels, which means sodium compounds are present.
- Cook fresh, skinless poultry that is not enhanced with sodium solution, instead of fried or processed chicken.
- Choose lower-sodium varieties of soups and enhance tastes with herbs and spices, such as cilantro, garlic, or chili powders.
- Make sandwiches with lower-sodium meats and low-fat, low-sodium cheeses.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables in preference to starchy salted side dishes. Fruits and vegetables have little sodium and lots of potassium, which can counter the effects of sodium.
The key recommendation to obese patients for sodium reduction should be to replace high-salt, high-fat, and high-sugar processed snack foods with fruits and vegetables. This has the dual effect of decreasing calorie intake and increasing both water and potassium intakes, which counteracts effects of dietary sodium.
Lifestyle modifications that include nutritional therapy, weight loss plans, and physical exercise are the cornerstones in the prevention and treatment of obesity-associated prehypertension and hypertension. However, adherence to this approach only meets with failure oftentimes in clinical practice; therefore, drug therapy should never be delayed when hypertension has been diagnosed.
Nutrition and lifestyle factors have a predominant role in blood pressure regulation. In non-hypertensive individuals, including those with pre-hypertension, dietary changes that lower blood pressure have the potential to prevent hypertension and, more broadly, reduce the blood pressure and thereby lower the risk of blood pressure related clinical complications.