salt_thumbBy Joe Cartwright, BA, CPT, YES

We all know that having too much salt in our diets can leave us feeling extra thirsty and extra bloated. However, there is a lot more than just putting on the “water weight” that you need to be aware. Excess sodium can be detrimental to your kidneys, arteries, heart, and brain.

Your kidney’s job is to filter all the toxins and wastes from the body. High sodium levels put a big strain on the kidneys, making it harder to filter the toxins and waste into the bladder. If the strain is high, overtime this can lead to kidney disease and even kidney failure. Your body won’t be able to rid itself from the toxins and wastes that is should be able to.

One of the most common effects of high sodium is clogged arteries. The higher the sodium level, the harder the arteries have to work to push blood through. Over time, those arterial walls become thicker, because they have to push harder to get the blood through. In response, that makes the pathway narrower. This can lead to an artery clogging or even bursting because the blood pressure is so high from excess sodium.

High blood pressure from sodium makes the heart work a lot harder to pump blood through the system. Also, the return of blood to the heart well be less and have less oxygen to work with. If the arteries to the heart are clogged and the heart has to overwork itself, this can lead to a heart attack.

High sodium levels can also affect the brain. Stemming from high blood pressure in the arteries, if they have limits oxygen and nutrients to the brain, then a stroke could be right around the corner. Parts of the brain could shut down from oxygen deprivation, and you could also have what is known as vascular dementia.

As you can see, high sodium levels can be as life threatening as sugar is to the body. As always, keep an eye on the nutrition labels to see what you are putting in the tank. You never have to add more salt than what you are served, especially going out to eat! Keep the sodium levels low and your arteries, kidneys, heart, and brain will thank you for it!