Low Blood Pressure & Salt

Submitted by Thiruvelan on Thu, 10/30/2014
Hypertension & Salt

People with low blood pressure can play with sodium intake within allowable maximum sodium intake to manage their low blood pressure and its associated symptoms.

What is Sodium Salt?

Like all other mineral nutrients, sodium is an essential mineral and electrolyte. It is necessary for various bodily functions; it maintain water balance within cells, which involved in proper functioning of nerve impulse and muscles in the body. We require sodium in a small quantity, and the kidneys excrete extra sodium along with urine.

Table salt contains sodium and chloride.

Sodium and chloride both are essential for numerous bodily processes that include the regulation of osmotic pressure, acid-base balance, digestion & absorption of various nutrients (glucose and most amino acids from the small intestine).

We require chloride for the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach required for the digestion and absorption of many nutrients. However, you can get it naturally from foods we eat.

Sodium and blood pressure

The first person to suspect eating salt might contribute to blood pressure raise was Emperor Huangdi of China; about 5,000 years ago. He wrote, if excess salt is used in food, the pulse hardens. Dr. Lewis Dahl in 1972 presented evidence that a diet high in sodium contributes to high blood pressure.

Sodium has an important influence on blood pressure; still we are not sure exactly how it happens. Eating more salt expands blood volume, this trigger cascade of process that raises blood pressure.

The blood pressure control system involves dozens of complex vascular, neurological, and hormonal process. Some experts suspect these hormones (due to high plasma sodium) may have adverse effects on vascular health even if blood pressure remains stable.

How much sodium we require?

The healthy adult's body contains 250 grams (slightly less than 9 ounces) of sodium, distributed throughout the body. Sodium salt is plentiful in body fluids: blood, sweat, tear, semen and urine.

Without enough sodium, all these fluids would lose their water, causing dehydration, low blood pressure, and death.

The adequate Intake for sodium is 1,500 milligrams daily (less than 1 teaspoon of table salt) for males and females aged 9 to 50 years. The maximum recommended sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams daily.

Why we are so concern about sodium intake?

Sodium is an essential nutrient no doubt; however, in some sensitive individuals, sodium may increase blood pressure because of its excess fluid holding capacity in the body. 

Additionally, most of us about 85% men and women’s sodium consumption are far higher than the maximum recommended level. Thus, people with hypertension should be more concern about sodium salt intake and try limiting it help lower their blood pressure.

In the case of people with low blood pressure who tolerate sodium can increase sodium intake, which may help improve their blood pressure and the associated symptoms. However, do not cross the recommended maximum sodium intake of 2300 mgs/day.

Hyponatremia - Sodium Deficiency

Deficiency is extremely rare, as we mostly over-consume it. Deficiency usually occurs only among individuals with prolonged fluid loss due to diarrhea, vomiting, perspiration or those with kidney problems. Symptoms of sodium deficiency include nausea, dizziness, and muscle cramps.

Fortunately, we only require tiny amount of sodium to prevent deficiency; in fact, some people manage perfectly well on just 200 mg a day. When we are in short supply, the body conserve sodium by dramatically reduce sodium excreted in urine and sweat.

Can hypotensive eat as much as sodium they like?

It is always tempting to think (even advised) for people not to worry about excess intake of sodium salt, because they have low blood pressure.

However, excess sodium intake increases greater water retention in the body leads to swelling of the ankles and weight gain. Additionally, it can contribute towards bone thinning (osteoporosis), asthma and kidney disease. Thus, it is advisable never cross the maximum allowable sodium salt intake.