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Sodium and hypertension: new theory about salt and high blood pressure

A low salt diet for hypertension has been proven effective to control episodes of high blood pressure. Clinical and epidemiological investigations have shown a positive relationship between sodium and hypertension.  Researchers couldn’t explain the exact mechanism on how sodium and hypertension correlate with one another,  but clinical evidence and some experimental studies show that reduction in salt intake causes lower incidences of high blood pressure.

A recent research study conducted at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Kent State University suggested that high salt intake affects blood pressure because it affects body temperature regulation by the cardiovascular system. This dual function of the cardiovascular system is very important, and it is possible that body temperature regulation takes priority.

The researchers’ findings suggest that high salt intake causes a significant rise in blood pressure, which directly affects the cardiovascular system in trying to maintain both normal blood pressure and body temperature. This is supported by some studies conducted previously which suggest that a high salt diet increases left ventricular mass. This  further implies that an increase in sodium increases blood pressure, causing the heart to work harder to push enough blood to important organs and peripheral body parts.

Are you a salt sensitive or salt resistant individual?

It is very important to know and understand what this means for you to be able to minimize your risk and at least eliminate one of the risk factors of  hypertension, which is a high salt diet.

According to Robert Blankfield, a clinical professor of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a member of the Department of Family Medicine at University Hospital’s Case Medical Center, salt sensitive individuals maintain core body temperature equilibrium more effectively than salt resistant individuals, while salt resistant individuals maintains blood pressure equilibrium more effectively than salt sensitive individuals. This finding signifies that a high salt intake exacerbates hypertension among salt sensitive individuals.

Researchers continue to study the link between sodium and hypertension in an attempt to fully understand the mechanism of how sodium increases blood pressure.  While the exact process is not fully understood, many medical practitioners are trying to conduct studies to further improve management and control of hypertension among high risk groups of the population. Salt-sensitive individuals are one of such high risk groups.

If you have high blood pressure, you should eat no more than 1 teaspoon of salt per day. If you have been trying a low salt diet to reduce your hypertension for a while and haven’t succeeded,  your blood pressure may have other causes than your sensitivity to salt.


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