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Ways to Reduce High Sodium Levels

Published on May 06, 2022   -  4 min read

Abstract

This article will cover various steps and their details, that can be taken to lower sodium levels in the body.

Contents

What Is the Significance of Sodium?

Sodium is a mineral electrolyte required by the body in trace amounts. Still, it plays a vital role in muscle functions - their contraction and relaxation, conduction of nerve impulses, and maintaining the proper balance of fluids in the body. An appropriate quantity of sodium in the body also helps control blood pressure and blood volume. The human body gets sodium from the consumed food, and it is excreted from the body as sweat and urine. Kidneys are the organs that help in its excretion. Nowadays, most sodium is consumed from eating processed and packaged foods.

As per the U.S Dietary Reference Intakes, the recommended daily allowance or tolerable upper-level sodium intake has not been set. However, guidelines for adequate intakes were formed. For people, 14 years and above, including pregnant women and older people, the AI (adequate intake) has been created as 1500 mg per day. According to the Chronic Disease Risk Reduction (CDRR), the maximum sodium intake of 2300 mg per day is the amount limited for lowering the chances of chronic diseases in pregnant women and individuals of all ages.

What Is Sodium Toxicity?

The presence of excess amounts of sodium in the blood is known as hypernatremia. The excess sodium in the blood causes intracellular fluid to move out into the bloodstream. This water movement helps dilute the blood, but it can be fatal in severe cases. This fluid accumulation in the brain can lead to seizures, coma, or even death. In the lungs, it may cause dyspnea (breathing difficulty). The manifestations of hypernatremia are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, loss of concentration, increased thirst, etc. It is commonly seen in older adults who are malnourished and mentally or physically disabled; those who are dehydrated due to infection, fever, vomiting, or any other sickness. Severe perspiration, diuretics, and conditions that cause excessive water loss from the body may also result in hypernatremia.

What Are the Consequences of Increased Sodium in the Human Body?

These days, many high sodium foods are being consumed, due to which the number of critical health issues is increasing. Sodium is an essential part of a human diet, but the body needs it only in small quantities; its increase in the body beyond the normal range poses a risk for life-threatening problems. The high sodium levels in the blood cause an increase in the blood volume, leading to an increased workload on the heart and blood vessels. In the long term, the blood vessels may get stiffened due to excess pressure and cause diseases like hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, and even cardiac arrest. High sodium levels can be detrimental to kidneys and bones too. Muscle twitching and hyperreflexia are also seen as all central nervous system cells get affected.

What Are the Tips for Reducing Sodium Levels in the Body?

High sodium levels can be reduced by changing the list when buying food products, altering the ingredients or recipes when preparing food items, dining at home, and choosing food while eating out. Salt taste varies from one individual to another, but it is easy to switch to a low salt intake. However, it may take up to eight weeks to accept the taste completely. Limiting the sodium in the diet helps decrease the blood pressure in hypertensive patients and acts as an adjunct to antihypertensive drugs. The following are the steps that can be followed:

While shopping the grocery items:

When preparing food and eating at home:

While dining at restaurants:

Besides sticking to the tips mentioned above, some more things need to be taken care of. Medications containing Alka Seltzer and Bromo seltzer should be avoided. In addition, certain foods contain high quantities of sodium and should be kept at bay. They are listed as:

Conclusion:

Maintaining normal sodium levels is highly imperative for the body’s proper functioning. Low and high sodium levels are dangerous. However, sodium toxicity may lead to severe complications. Therefore, appropriate measures should be taken to keep a check on them for smooth and healthy working of the body.

Last reviewed at:
06 May 2022  -  4 min read

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