Dr Rajeev Gupta, internal medicine specialist states, “People with high blood pressure are often advised to consume less salt. To understand the relation between salt and hypertension, one must understand how the salt affects the body and results in high blood pressure.” Experts state that a person needs to have a reference point i.e. a normal blood pressure that is usually at 120/80.
“Salt makes our kidneys hold more water. Kidneys remove the unwanted fluid from the blood, through osmosis, and transfer it into bladder, to be removed as urine. In the process of osmosis, kidneys keep a delicate balance of potassium and sodium to extract extra water out of blood. Eating salt (Sodium Chloride) increases the sodium level and reduces the ability of kidneys to remove water,” he explains.
The extra fluid in the arteries, leads to extra strain in them state doctors. “To deal with the increasing pressure, arteries become thicker, and the space inside the arteries decreases. This further increases the pressure. If you continue to eat excess salt, the building pressure may result in bursting or clogging up of arteries. This can damage two of the most important body parts of the human body – brain and heart.
“If the arteries leading to the heart are damaging, it will reduce the amount of the blood (oxygen and nutrients) reaching the heart. This may cause sharp pain in the chest. But if you continue salt intake in same proportion, due to increasing blood pressure, arteries may burst or get completely clogged. This can cause heart attack,” says Dr Gupta from Fortis Hospital.
“The case with the brain is also similar. Damaging arteries can result in reduction of blood (oxygen and nutrients) reaching the brain. This can hinder the functioning of that part of the brain and result in vascular dementia. If you continue consuming excessive salt and the arteries are completely damaged, this can result in a brain stroke. In this condition, the damaged part of the brain cannot perform its functions,” he states.