How Salt Can Negatively Impact Your Blood Pressure, Heart, and Kidneys

At Lafferty Family Care, Dr. Scott Lafferty and our team believe that the basis for good family medicine is preventive care a

We want to start by saying that salt isn’t bad — in fact, your body requires sodium to regulate its balance of fluids. But as with most things, too much sodium can swing the pendulum back into unhealthy territory, especially when it comes to your heart, your blood vessels, and your kidneys.

At Lafferty Family Care, Dr. Scott Lafferty and our team believe that the basis for good family medicine is preventive care and education. And when you consider that at least one-third of Americans are considered hypertensive (have high blood pressure), it’s worth reviewing the role that salt plays in your body — good and bad.

To that end, we’ve pulled together the following information on how too much salt can negatively impact your blood pressure, heart, and kidneys.

Salt and your blood pressure

It’s worth noting right off the bat that when we refer to salt, we’re primarily referring to the main ingredient in salt — sodium. Sodium is an essential mineral that allows your blood to draw in water for hydration. When you have too much sodium in your blood, your circulatory system takes in more water than necessary, increasing the volume of your blood.

This extra volume can place added stress on your blood vessels as they attempt to circulate these additional fluids, which leads to higher blood pressure. As a result, with prolonged and excessive salt intake, you can damage the walls of your blood vessels and speed up plaque buildup. 

This is why one of the first weapons in the war against high blood pressure is a diet known as DASH — dietary approaches to stop hypertension. And one of the main goals of this diet is to lower your sodium intake.

Salt and your heart

As we’ve reviewed, higher sodium causes a spike in your blood volume, which makes your heart work overtime. Your heart is designed to easily circulate the blood within your body, but when there’s too much sodium drawing in water, your heart’s job gets considerably harder.

Salt and your kidneys

The primary responsibility of your kidneys is to filter the fluids in your body, drawing out the waste, which it expels through your urine. In fact, your kidneys process a whopping 120 quarts of blood a day. When there’s too much sodium in your system, your kidneys have a tough time keeping up with the extra volume and can become damaged over time, leading to kidney disease.

Dialing back your salt

Whether you’re hypertensive or prehypertensive, we’re going to ask you to watch your sodium intake. Even if you’re perfectly healthy on all fronts, it pays to take proactive steps and keep your salt intake within normal limits to prevent any problems from developing.

We’re happy to sit down with you to come up with a good dietary plan, tailored to your lifestyle and tastes. We assure you, there are many workaround solutions for salt that keep your food tasty and your body healthy.

To get started on lowering your salt, just give our office in Bentonville, Arkansas, a call at (479) 464-0400 or use our convenient online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.

You Might Also Enjoy...

10 Heart-Healthy Foods to Incorporate into Your Diet

Since February is American Heart Month, we’re taking this opportunity to discuss the role that nutrition plays in your heart health (hint — it’s huge). To get started, here are 10 foods your heart will thank you for.