Salt..a deadly poison for blood vessels
Consuming extra grams of salt per day can lead to serious health damage that damages blood vessels and increases the risk of a number of diseases.
In a report published by the newspaper,لوفيغارو(lefigaro) French, writer Cecile Tiber says that excessive salt intake is harmful to health just as sugar and fats, so doctors regularly recommend that you reduce it as much as possible.
The sodium in salt is necessary for the body, but excessive consumption is linked to high blood pressure and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, and this is not only associated with the elderly, but also includes all ages.
How does salt cause blood pressure?
There are 3 compartments or fluid compartments in our bodies: plasma (found in blood vessels), extracellular compartment, and intracellular compartment.
The body works to balance the amount of water and nutrients between these compartments, where absorption and disposal of water and minerals occur at their limits.
Water molecules move from areas of higher water density to areas of lower density, which is known physically as “osmosis”, so when you eat 3 slices of sausage, a handful of pretzels and a piece of pizza, the concentration of salt in the extracellular compartment will inevitably increase.
To dilute sodium and return to a state of equilibrium, water moves from inside the cells to the extracellular compartment, and thus water flows into the blood vessels.
In this way, the volume of our blood increases, which leads to a change in cardiac output (heart rate x volume of blood pumped) and an increase in the pressure that the blood exerts on the vessel walls.
According to Professor Eric Prockert, Head of the Department of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Petit-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, “This effect is very important if you suffer from high blood pressure. On the other hand, reducing salt intake helps lower blood pressure, especially in people who have high blood pressure. suffer from high blood pressure.
“When blood volume increases after sodium intake, the body tries to counteract the increase in pressure through 3 basic mechanisms. This is related to vasodilation, which is the capacity of blood vessels,” explains Dr. Mohamed Barigo, endocrinologist and supervisor of nutritional consultations at the Vaudois University Hospital Center in Lausanne, Switzerland. On stretching to reduce blood pressure, the ability of the kidneys to excrete water and sodium actively, and finally the role of the “renin-angiotensin system”, a hormonal system that plays a major role in regulating blood pressure.
But because of the excessive consumption of salt over the years, this mechanism loses its effectiveness, and Dr. Parego confirms in this context, “If one day we develop high blood pressure, it is because all these mechanisms have failed.”
“In this case, the kidneys remove sodium less efficiently, and lose their ability to remove it optimally. The walls of blood vessels – which are supposed to contain the extra pressure – lose their elasticity and become more rigid.”
The effect of salt on the vessels
By causing high blood pressure, excessive salt intake becomes one of the main factors that lead to problems in the arteries, and Dr. Parego explains that “high blood pressure damages blood vessels daily, and it is a major risk factor that increases the odds of cardiovascular disease, because it enhances Atherosclerosis (chronic arterial disease characterized by fatty deposits in the arteries).
Atherosclerosis and reduction in their size, along with the appearance of plaques that cause their narrowing (which are fatty deposits at the level of the walls of blood vessels), increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases (myocardial infarction and stroke), but it does not stop there.
“High blood pressure can also damage other organs, such as the kidneys and retina,” says Dr. Parego.
These effects appear gradually after decades of salt consumption, and Parego explains that “some people take longer to get rid of sodium, and they are not able to get rid of it completely, and they permanently maintain a degree of arterial hypertension, which is expressed in salt sensitivity.”
WHO and salt
To close World Health Organization “Most people over-consume an average of 9-12 grams per day, or about double the recommended maximum intake level.”
It confirms that eating less than 5 grams of salt per day for adults helps reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart attack. The main benefit of reducing salt intake is the corresponding lowering of blood pressure. ?
Studies confirming the harmful effects of salt
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that reducing salt consumption by 25% can significantly reduce the odds of cardiovascular disease and death in people who have high blood pressure or who have previously had a stroke.
This study was conducted in China on nearly 20,000 people who were followed for 5 years and who reduced their salt consumption by using an alternative containing less sodium and more potassium.
Another study published in the same journal on January 20 showed that the higher the salt intake, the higher the risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Parego confirms that “high blood pressure affects 1 in 5 people. Therefore, it is necessary to take care to eat home dishes rich in fruits and vegetables, rather than processed foods that are often rich in salt, as most people consume 9 to 12 grams of salt.” per day, twice the maximum allowed for adults.
According to the author, people with moderate high blood pressure need to reduce salt intake to reduce the risk of exacerbation of the disease.
But Dr. Parego stresses that “in the vast majority of cases of high blood pressure, we need parallel drug therapy, in addition to a healthy diet.”
Contrary to popular belief, Professor Prockert stresses that reducing salt intake is not only medical advice for older people. “People as a whole consume far more salt than recommended, so you should eat less, whatever your age,” he says.