Research indicates that the present sodium intake is the prime cause for the high incidence of hypertension among today’s population. Recommendations for low salt intake per day have largely gone unheeded.
Hypertension has become the bane of contemporary life. It has been found that the salt sodium in tandem with chloride is an important factor in the pathogenesis of the condition termed essential hypertension. However, if either sodium or chloride intake occurs in accompaniment with anions like citrate or ammonium, it does not result in essential hypertension.
Sodium Intake Hypertension continues to be the main cause of death in most developed countries. In the United States, a low salt intake is suggested as a significant measure of prophylaxis as well as a basic therapy for hypertension. In a recent research study conducted in Finland, it has been found conclusively that progressive reduction in salt intake over a period of 25 -30 years had played a pivotal role in bringing down the mean blood pressure among the population. This also has brought about an impressive decrease of 75 – 80 per cent in the incidence of mortality from coronary heart disease as well as Stroke in people below 65 years of age.
Sodium – The Prime Cause
In modern diets, the sodium levels tend to be inordinately high, while that of magnesium, calcium and potassium are comparatively low. This indicates that the present intake of sodium is the prime cause for the high incidence of hypertension among today’s population. Recommendations for low salt intake per day have largely gone unheeded. In fact in the 1980-1990 period, the intake of salt went up by about an incredible 55 per cent.
To worsen the situation, food and beverage companies promote the intake of high levels of salt in their products. In order to justify their actions they keep on harping on the lame excuse that there is no scientific basis to such claims and continue their ad campaigns with great success.
Prior to the 1980s, the sale of food and beverage products displayed a marked decline with the consequent reduction in the incidence of high blood pressure in the US. However, by the end of the last century, the consumption of ready made foods went up by almost 90 percent thereby massively increasing the prevalence of essential BP.
Blood pressure has two vital functions within the human body. It maintains tissue perfusion and controls the sodium balance in the system. The other is to maintain the vital sodium balance which in turn decides the extra-cellular fluid volume in the system. Excessive intake of salts make the body increase the blood pressure to remove the excessive sodium. This means that blood pressure is a defense mechanism the body resorts to in order to get rid of excessive salts, especially sodium from the body.
However, there is hope. To a large extent, the incidence of sodium intake hypertension can be brought down by the simple expedient of low salt intake without resorting to medication. A low sodium intake is essential for maintaining cardiac health and for the body to maintain normal levels of blood pressure. A salt intake per day in the range of 6g is recommended for adults.