Having high blood pressure can be a precursor of a number of other medical problems, which explains why so many people keep an eye on their blood pressure readings. It has even gotten to the point where many department stores and pharmacies have blood pressure readers available for customers to measure their blood pressures while they are shopping. The machines tell people that a ‘normal’ blood pressure should be 120/80, and that if your numbers are above that you may want to try to lower it.
So, how do you go about lowering your blood pressure? Most doctors first instruction is to limit salt intake.
The obvious follow up question that begs to be answered, however, is what does salt have to do with blood pressure?
In its simplest form, salt causes your body to retain water, which increases the volume of blood in the body. Since the amount of arterial space remains the same, the increase in volume is directly proportional to the increase in pressure.
By limiting salt intake you are able to prevent the increase of blood volume, and therefore help to prevent a rise in blood pressure. And by decreasing your blood pressure, you are able to decrease your risk of many chronic diseases such as stroke, heart attack, arterial aneurisms, among others.
So the next time you go to the drug store, take a minute to sit down at the blood pressure machine to get a reading. And if the reading comes back a little high, think twice before you reach for the salt shaker at your next meal.