Common Problems Associated With High Salt Intake
Sodium is an essential nutrient in the body as it is necessary for various functions such as maintenance of plasma volume, acid base balance, transmission of nerve impulses, and normal functioning of the cells. In the body, sodium is absorbed during digestion and in order to maintain the sodium level in the body, urinary excretion is the primary mechanism.
Although sodium is an important nutrient in the human diet, too much salt in the body is associated with various health problems. High salt intake is considered to be a major risk factor for the occurrence of various health problems primarily with the kidneys and the cardiovascular system.
Sodium and chloride are the chemical components of common table salt which it can naturally be found in various food items which include milk, meat, soy, bread, and shellfish. In other terms, it can be said that diets that are high in processed food and low in low in fresh fruits and vegetables are often high in sodium.
Multiple studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of high salt intake on the body and studies showed that there is a strong correlation between the diet that contains high salt and the development of multiple health problems.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure is one of the most commonly known diseases due to the intake of high amount of salt in the diet. The awareness of a correlation between salt and hypertension has existed before decades. Blood pressure is a force of blood to the walls of the arteries, and when this force becomes higher than the required level, it is known as high blood pressure.
Generally, the blood pressure keeps of increasing and decreasing on a daily basis. But it stays increased or decreased for a prolonged period, it is considered to be a topic of concern. There are various different factors that could lead to an increase in blood pressure and excess salt consumption is one of the factors.
One mechanism through which salt affect the blood pressure is that an extra salt in the the bloodstream causes it to pulls water in the blood vessel that could lead to an increase in the total amount of blood inside the blood vessels. As a result, an increase in the flow of blood through the blood vessels causes an increase in blood pressure.
Multiple studies have observed that high blood pressure is one of the major cause of the development of cardiovascular disease in Americans and it is believed that the intake of high salt food by the Americans is one of the primary cause of it.
Diets that are high in salt have been linked with an increased risk of cancer by multiple researchers. It is strongly believed that too much salt in the blood could lead trigger the causes of cancer, especially stomach cancer. Several case control studies have reported a drastic increase in the risk of gastric cancer due to overall intake of dietary salt or sodium.
Cancer is a chronic disease whose prevalence has increased statistically across the world. It is a health condition which occurs when the cells within the body experience uncontrolled growth. Normally, the old and damaged cells are replaced by the new cells but sometimes there is an uncontrollable growth of the cells which leads to the build up of the tumor. Gastric cancer occurs when there is an uncontrollable growth of the cells in the stomach.
There are various mechanisms that could explain the correlation between high salt diet and gastric cancer. One possible explanation is that high salt in the bloodstream can cause damage to gastric mucosa that could increase the risk of gastritis. This could also lead to an increase in DNA synthesis and cell proliferation which can cause the development of gastric carcinoma.
There are many different types of bone disorders that affect people, primarily to older people. It is strongly believed that vitamin deficiency and changes in hormonal levels are the main cause of the development of bone disorders. But multiple studies have shown that dietary salt intake is also associated with the occurrence of a bone disorder.
Osteoporosis is one of the most common bone disorder which is characterized by weak bones which are likely to get fractured, followed by minor fall. Osteoporosis occur due to bone loss. One of the explanations of how sodium affects the bones is that the sodium in the form of sodium chloride elevates the urinary calcium and at prevailing calcium intakes, evokes the compensatory responses which could lead to bone loss. Too much salt in the diet is considered to be an important risk factor for the occurrence of osteoporosis and other bone disorders.
Kidney dysfunction is another disease which is strongly associated with high dietary salt intake after high blood pressure. Chronic kidney disease is known to be highly associated with high salt intake. Kidneys play vital functions in the body such as:
- Removing waste and extra fluid in the body
- Keep the bones healthy
- Makes red blood cells
Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys fail to function normally and when this disease is left untreated, over time it becomes chronic kidney disease. There is evidence that proves that chronic kidney disease can be a result of high salt intake.
One of the most direct explanation that states how high salt intake affects kidneys is through blood pressure. Evidence suggests that high blood pressure significantly contributes to kidney disease and it is very well explained that high blood pressure can result from high dietary salt.
Another mechanism includes the relationship between high sugar level in the blood and kidney dysfunction. High salt can also affect the glucose level in the blood, causing it to become high. The high glucose level in the effect the overall functioning of the kidney, making it difficult for it to function normally.