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Sneaky sodium

Sneaky sodium

Did you know that with every beat of your heart, blood is being pumped throughout your body delivering the oxygen and energy it needs to move? And, while the blood is moving, it pushes on the sides of your blood vessels, and the strength that is pushes on those vessels is your blood pressure. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), some 80 million U.S. adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a disease that can be deadly if not treated. The American Society of Hypertension says that high blood pressure is the most prevalent cause of stroke and kidney failure, and is a large part of other health issues including obesity, diabetes, kidney disease or many other co-existing problems involving lifestyle and/or genetics.

Healthy habits like healthy eating, being physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol, and managing or coping with stress can help prevent high blood pressure from developing in the first place or keep it from getting worse. As you can see, there are many factors that can affect blood pressure, but today I'd like to focus on how much sodium (salt) you eat.

Salt helps to keep excess fluid in the body, which can make your heart work harder while it's pumping blood through your vessels—thus, increasing your blood pressure. While too much salt can be dangerous, healthy food choices can lower blood pressure. The following are some sneaky sources of sodium that you may find are a large part of your diet.

  • Antacids
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Bread, baked goods and tortillas including
  • Canned soup and canned vegetables
  • Cereal
  • Condiments, dressings, items in flavoring packets, and sauces including ketchup, mustard, salad dressings, spaghetti sauce, soy sauce and wing sauce
  • Dairy products, especially cottage cheese
  • Deli meats
  • Frozen meals
  • Nuts
  • Pickled foods such as relish and sauerkraut
  • Shrimp
  • Vegetable juice

If your doctor has told you that you are at risk for or already have high blood pressure, it's recommended that you decrease the amount of sodium you consume. The CDC recommends decreasing sodium consumption to less than 1500mg, and the AHA has put together this Salty Six infographic to help you spot some high sodium culprits easily (download a PDF here).

salty six graphic

Make 2016 the year you take a more active role in your own healthcare with healthcheck+ lab tests and screenings including blood pressure. These are available Monday-Friday from 6-11 am at 1901 Energy Court, located behind Wendy's. Learn your cholesterol numbers, check your thyroid function and much more, at an affordable cost with results mailed directly to your home in just a few days. Walk-ins are welcome or request an appointment online at www.cchwyo.org/hcplus.

For more tips like these, be sure to see a CCH Health Coach who can help you accomplish your goals and live your healthiest life!

Have Questions?
Campbell County Health's Wellness Services works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. To learn more about Wellness, please visit www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.

This blog was written by Rachel Wilde CPT, MA, CCH Wellness Services Technician and Phlebotomist