Dietary salt, or sodium, isn’t bad for most persons. Sodium is an essential part of a person’s diet. It helps the body perform many different functions.
Moderation is the key when considering the amount a person should consume. Believe it or not, too little sodium in a person’s diet can also have negative effects on the body.
In the body, dietary salt helps maintain the electrical charge in cells, and distributes fluids in the body. The nervous system requires sodium to function. Dietary salt also helps promote proper muscle function and movement. In the intestines, sodium helps the body absorb chloride, amino acids, glucose and water. On average a person only needs to replace about 2,000 milligrams of sodium each day.
The American Heart Association reports the average American takes in around 3,436 milligrams per day. This means on average Americans are eating more sodium than they need to.
Too Much Sodium – can be a serious problem for persons with certain diseases such as heart failure. It can also fight effective blood pressure control.
When you consume too much sodium, the follow things occur:
- Increase of fluid in blood vessels, which raises blood pressure.
- Brain tells you that your thirsty because of the increased salt in the body.
- Kidneys try to rid the body of excess salt through urine.
- Elevated blood pressure from too much salt can lead to an enlarged heart.
- Extra pressure on the heart because of the presence of excess water in the blood.
- Water retention and bloating.
Too Little Sodium
When you consume too little sodium, the follow things occur:
- Nausea, vomiting, upset stomach.
- Muscle weakness.
- Disorientation, seizures, brain damage.
- Loss of proper muscle control.
- Cerebral edema (brain swelling).
If you’re unsure of your current salt intake, you can start to track your daily sodium intake by following serving information on food labels which also list the amount of sodium per serving.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms noted above, you may wish to consult a doctor to determine what the cause could be. Dr. Kordonowy of Internal Medicine, Lipid, & Wellness in Fort Myers can give you a dietary assessment and determine what amount of dietary salt you should be ingesting. To book an appointment with Dr. Kordonowy, click here or call 239-362-3006, ext. 200.