The high salt content in many processed foods has increased the average consumption of salt up to 8 gm a day which is the double the recommended intake of 4 gm per day. There is no disputing the fact that increase in intake of salt increases blood pressure. Why this happens isn’t figured out exactly. One school of thought has come out with the following “The salt intake induces the body to take more fluids thus pressurizing the blood vessels. This in turn shoots up the blood pressure that increases the risk of heart failure, stroke and kidney ailments.
Increase in intake of salt results in high blood pressure resulting in stroke is not in dispute. A series of studies shows that reduced intake of salt has little effect on mortality rather increases the risk of mortality. The sensitivity level to salt differs from person to person. Some of them consume two to three times the recommended level with no or negligible effect with regards to blood pressure levels. In others reduced intake of salt tends to raise blood pressure.
Restricting salt intake in youngsters has little or negligible effect on blood pressure. On the contrary when we get old the effect of reduced intake has significant results. Older people are susceptible to strokes, cardiovascular diseases or for that matter on blood pressure lowering medications has significant takeaways with regards to reduced intake of salt which help reduce blood pressure.
The results are divided in case of salt with regards to the link between salt, high blood pressure and heart disease. At the same time a number of studies have churned out some unexpected and interesting results. Recent studies have thrown up some interesting facts. Young people with reduced intake of salt in their diet have high level of mortality. In one of the clinical trials conducted individuals with type 2 diabetes whose intake of salt was less in turn raised the risk of heart disease.
What does this mean for the common man? The opinions are sharply divided and across the world studies and clinical trials have shown that high intake of salt increases risk of strokes and heart disease. In totality controlled trials, observational studies among different types of population and age group has come up with a balanced view. We are consuming more salt than required and there is a case for course correction in the form or reduced intake of salt to reduce our risks. The choice is yours and so are the risks.