The chemical name for salt is sodium chloride. It is a common flavor that is added to many dishes. However, taking too much salt can be dangerous to your health. Both sodium and chloride are essential minerals to the body. Salts contain 60% chloride and 40% sodium. Chloride helps the body to maintain a balance in body fluids and minerals – homeostasis. Sodium is required to maintain the functioning of body muscles and nerves. That means you cannot do without salt. However, people should take salt responsibly because too much of it has both long-term and short-term effects. In this post, we shall discuss the side effects of too much salt in the body and what happens with a lack of enough salt in the body.
The recommended daily salt intake differs from one group of people to another. Adults should not take more than 2300 mg of salt daily, which is equivalent to one teaspoon. Children under the age of 14 should take fewer salts which do not exceed 1700 mg in a day. However, suppose you happen to take an overdose of salt. In that case, there are some ways that you can apply to avoid serious consequences. Drink a lot of water. Water will help the body to have a balance between sodium and water.
Reduce the amount of salt in the consequent meals to compensate for the excess salt you took earlier. Take foods that are rich in potassium. Foods rich in potassium include vegetables, dairy products, and fruits. Potassium assists the body in maintaining balance in salts and fluid.
Short-term effects of salt overdose
Short-term effects of salts are those temporary results caused by taking a single salty meal. These results may not persist for more than a single day.
Have you ever noticed an intense thirst after taking a meal? Probably you felt the intense thirst because of a salty meal. Thirst is a way the body uses to correct the high concentration of sodium in the blood. There should be a balance of water to sodium ratio in the body. Taking a lot of water will help you urinate more, eliminating the excess salt from the body. Therefore, always consider answering such calls since you assist the body to rectify any underlying mistake.
It is a condition caused by a high intake of salts. It happens when the sodium level in the body rises beyond the normal level. If one does not take water to neutralize the condition, body cells may lose water to neutralize the salt in the blood. It would cause an imbalance of water in the cells and the blood. This condition is characterized by breathing difficulties, restlessness, and less urination. If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to coma and seizures.
Swellings on the body.
Excess taking of salts leads to water retention in the body, which may cause swelling on the feet and hands. An Increase of sodium in the body makes the kidneys retain more water to balance water to sodium. This might make you feel tired, puffy, and swollen.
Rising blood pressure.
High salt intake in a single meal or a day may cause a temporary rise in blood pressure. Some people are resistant to salt and might not experience a rise in blood pressure after taking salty meals. Other people are sensitive to salt, making them prone to this condition. The most sensitive people are aged and those who are obese.
Long-term effects of salt overdose
May cause heart disease.
Heart disease is directly linked to high blood pressure. As blood pressure increases due to the intake of excess salts, the heart is overworked. Blood flowing in high pressure may stiffen the arteries and blood vessels. Later, it may lead to heart disease. However, there is a need for more research to support this information.
A high salt intake may cause death in patients with other underlying health conditions such as kidney or liver disease. Death may occur if one takes an extremely high amount of salt, such as 2-4 teaspoons of salt in a day. It may overwork the sick kidneys leading to kidney failure and later died.
It may lead to cancer.
A high intake of salts increases the chances of getting stomach cancer. Researchers have linked a high intake of salts to causing stomach ulcers due to inflammation of the stomach lining. Untreated ulcers in the lining of the stomach may later develop into cancer. People taking less salty meals are at a lower risk of developing stomach cancer. Unfortunately, there is no clear line between the meaning of low salt and high salt. More research is needed to show how much salt can cause stomach cancer.
May cause high blood pressure.
Some people are sensitive to salt, while others are not. Aged and obese people are among the sensitive groups increasing their risk of developing high blood pressure. They should avoid highly salted foods. Research shows that there was an improvement in patients who reduced the daily intake of salt.
Effects of less intake of salts.
Salts contain sodium which is essential in the body. Lack of enough sodium in the body may lead to insulin resistance, lack of energy, muscle weakness, seizures, headache, nausea, and vomiting, among other effects.
The bottom line
Salt can be of benefit to you if consumed in the recommended amounts. It flavors food that may be indeed tasteless without it. Salts also provide the body with sodium which is essential in the body. A high intake of salt is dangerous. It can lead to short-term and long-term effects such as a rise in blood pressure, heart disease, stomach cancer, and death. Processed foods are high in sodium compared to fresh foods. Avoid indulging in such foods as they may put you at more risk. If you take a lot of salt in a meal, drink a lot of water, minimize salt in the next meals, and take high potassium to compensate for that.
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