World Hypertension Day : Cut down sodium intake


Dr Chakshu Ch
High Blood Pressure – Relationship with Food
There can be hidden sources of salt/sodium, which can unknowingly increase your BP (Blood Pressure).
· These are pickles, sauces, ketchup, papad, dry fish/tin fish, cheese processed one, bakery like biscuits, bread, namkeen, chips, soups, noodles like maggi, mimi, etc.  All of these contain sodium in high amount. According to WHO, per day limit for salt <5 g of & sodium <2.3 g.
· In already hypertensive patients’ sodium intake should be <1.5 g/dl. We should check Na+/Sodium levels of various food items on their label.
· Sugar free biscuit, oats preparations are in fashion these days, but these items have more salt and oil to make them palatable.
· Excess salt in our daily cooking just changes our taste bud receptor’s threshold and sometime in control centres of brain also, so we do not realize that we are eating more salty food.
· We should decrease overall salt consumption and also highly processed food and frozen food. Sodium salt preparations are frequently used to preserve food items.
Stress and BP
Normal stress produces hormonal response in our body to handle that stress. But long-time stress leads to higher hormone levels producing changes in our blood vessels and cardiovascular system of our body leading to high BP.
· So, relaxation, walking and light exercises techniques are good for normalising BP.
Diastolic BP = importance if elevated
Systolic when heart contracts and diastolic when it relaxes. So, high level of diastolic BP means less of relaxation of heart due to various reasons. It is silent killer as it can damage body organs very slowly without symptoms till very late. So, it should be taken seriously and investigated and treated to prevent future adverse events, like stroke, heart attack, kidney failure.
High Cholesterol levels & BP
High cholesterol levels in blood make it difficult to control BP even with medications. High cholesterol weakens the blood vessels and decrease their elasticity making them stiff and so causing high BP.
· Avoid Fried food and food containing high cholesterol.
The writer is MD (General Medicine) Postgra- duate Course in Advanced Diabetes (Harvard Medical School) Consultant Physician, Shija Hospitals