Most Americans consume much more sodium than they should. Health experts recommend that people consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, slightly less than one teaspoon. From putting a few shakes of salt on fries, to eating canned goods and salty snack foods, it can be easy for anyone to go way over the recommended daily limit of sodium.
Sodium can have a significant impact on your blood pressure, which is the force of blood against the walls of your veins and arteries. More than 103 million Americans have high blood pressure, but many of them aren’t even aware of it, because they don’t experience symptoms. High blood pressure is often called “the silent killer,” because there aren’t usually any signs that there’s a problem, but the condition can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
At Creekside Family Practice in Cypress, Texas, board certified family physician Hammad Qureshi, MD, and our team provide patients with top-notch care using the latest treatment options. We provide a full spectrum of services to support you in your health journey, from primary care to weight loss treatments to management of chronic conditions. We have all the information, assistance, and support you need to manage your blood pressure.
What is blood pressure?
Your heart pumps blood all around your body, bringing nutrients and oxygen to all of your cells. Your blood travels through two types of blood vessels: arteries and veins. Your arteries carry your blood to the different parts of your body, and your veins carry the blood back to your heart.
Blood pressure is the measurement of pressure that your blood exerts on the walls of your veins and arteries. There are two measurements for blood pressure: systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure measures the force while your heart is pumping. Diastolic pressure measures the force when your heart is resting between beats. Blood pressure is considered to be normal when the numbers are less than 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic), usually written as 120/80.
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
Many people with high blood pressure ― also called hypertension ― do not experience any symptoms, and so they may not know that anything is wrong. However, some of the possible symptoms of high blood pressure include:
- Chest pain
- Blood in the urine
- Shortness of breath
It can take years of having high blood pressure before the condition worsens to the point where you would be more likely to experience noticeable symptoms.
How does sodium affect blood pressure?
Your kidneys perform the important function of regulating the levels of sodium in your body. If you have too much, they filter out some of the sodium, passing it into your urine for removal from your body. However, if your salt intake is too high, your kidneys may not be able to filter out all of it, in which case the salt that is not filtered out will end up in your blood.
Salt is hygroscopic, which means that it attracts water. If you have a lot of salt in your blood, that salt will draw water into your blood, which will increase the volume of blood in your bloodstream. This increased quantity of blood moving through your blood vessels can cause an increase in blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a serious condition that needs to be managed carefully. If it’s not managed carefully, it could lead to life threatening conditions, such as strokes and heart attacks.
If you have high blood pressure and need help managing it, or if you want to see if you have high blood pressure, book an appointment online or over the phone with Creekside Family Practice today.