Don't Be So Salty!

Do you know how many milligrams of sodium are recommended for your daily consumption? Do you know what your blood pressure is and whether it falls in the recommended guidelines? Do you know how sodium is relevant to your blood pressure?

These are all questions that we addressed in our DASH Diet workshop a couple of weeks ago here at the wellness studio. Everyone who attended was on medication for high blood pressure. No one really knew how to answer these questions. Or even understood the side effects of the medication they were prescribed for hypertension. Which isn't surprising for me as a nurse. I hear this all the time. Which is why we used the DASH Diet, downloaded in .pdf form, from www.pbrc.edu to address most of the participants' questions and establish a dietary guideline in managing hypertension.

It's vitally important for us to know our family health history as well as our own in order to set the right lifestyle modifications for disease prevention or management. Our heart health was specifically what we addressed in our workshop. So the recommended blood pressure is LESS THAN 120/80. Our recommended daily sodium intake is 2300 - 1500 milligrams per day. If you take medication for hypertension, it is very important to understand the side effects. If you don't receive literature from the pharmacy that fills you prescription, ask for it or ask your prescribing health care provider.

So what does sodium do to the blood pressure? Extra sodium in the bloodstream pulls more water into the bloodstream which increases the blood volume in the blood vessels. This increased blood volume makes the heart work harder and increases the blood pressure which is the force of blood against the artery walls. This force is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The top number is the systolic pressure which is when the heart beats. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure which is when the heart relaxes between beats.

I feel like everyone came away from the workshop with a much better grasp on what hypertension is, how diet can help control it, and how the prescription medication they were taking actually worked. If you are reading this and feel like you need help in managing hypertension, by all means, call me. Email me. Skype me. And then come see me. You are your biggest advocate for your health.

Namaste

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