If you’re reading this, you or someone you love may be dealing with a low sodium diet due to heart or other medical issues. You’ve likely been told that too much sodium is bad for your heart, but you may not know exactly why. What I remember about those early doctor’s appointments on our low sodium journey was taking in a ton of information in a very short time and then only being able to remember a fraction of it when I got home. (Take notes, people. With your doctor’s permission, record your visits so you don’t miss anything.)
Too Much Sodium is Bad for Your Heart
Here’s what you need to know about how too much sodium is bad for your heart. The American Heart Association recommends adult patients with heart disease consume no more than 1,500 mgs of sodium per day. Most Americans consume more than double that. And double that can mean big trouble for your heart and other important organs.
Your body needs a small amount of sodium to function properly, but when you consume too much your body tries to dilute the excess sodium by directing more fluid into your bloodstream. Your heart has to work harder to pump the excess fluid through your body. This strains your heart and your blood vessels and can eventually cause high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure can overwork important organs like your heart, kidneys, arteries and even your brain. This can eventually lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, dementia or heart failure.
The good news is reducing the amount of sodium you consume can lower your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease and other potentially dangerous medical conditions. By learning to identify the high sodium foods in your diet and how to shop for and cook foods that are low in sodium, you can improve your health and reduce the risk of dealing with these conditions.