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Salt intake and high blood pressure link

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is significantly influenced by salt (sodium) intake. Here are some key points about their relationship:

1. Mechanism: Sodium in salt causes the body to retain water. This increases the volume of blood in the bloodstream, leading to higher blood pressure. Over time, this extra pressure can damage the blood vessel walls, contributing to hypertension.

2. Guidelines: Health organizations like the American Heart Association recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day, ideally around 1,500 milligrams, especially for individuals with hypertension.

3. Sources of Sodium: Major sources include processed and packaged foods, restaurant meals, and snacks. Reducing consumption of these items can help manage blood pressure.

4. Impact of Reduction: Studies have shown that reducing sodium intake can lower blood pressure. This effect is more pronounced in individuals who are salt-sensitive, a common condition among older adults, African Americans, and those with chronic kidney disease or diabetes.

5. Dietary Approaches: Adopting diets like the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy while reducing salt, can effectively lower blood pressure.

Managing salt intake is a crucial aspect of controlling high blood pressure and maintaining cardiovascular health.

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