Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk
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More than 160,000 people lose their lives yearly due to heart disease. There are various risk factors that can boost your chances of getting this condition. As with any health problem, your lifestyle habits play a major role. Luckily, cutting down on a popular ingredient could lower your risk of getting heart disease as well as the condition that can trigger the “killer” – high blood pressure.
In case you’re not aware, high blood pressure describes the long-term force of your blood against your artery walls high enough to trigger serious health problems, according to the Mayo Clinic.
This constant pressure against your arteries can damage them.
Once your arteries become less elastic and narrow, there will be a reduced flow of blood and oxygen to your heart, leading to heart disease, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention explains.
The popular ingredient that could be boosting your risk of both of these conditions is salt.
A staple of every kitchen, salt has been previously linked to a doubled risk of heart failure, as reported by British Heart Foundation.
The study looked at more than 4,000 people, evaluating the connection between the popular ingredient and heart health.
The researchers found that people who had more than 13.7 grams of salt on a daily basis had a two times higher risk of heart failure.
The Cleveland Clinic explains that too much salt can lead to a fluid build-up around your heart and lungs, making the heart work harder.
When it comes to blood pressure risk, the reason why salt can boost the condition is water retention.
When you eat too much of the popular ingredient, your body will store extra water in your blood, putting extra pressure on your blood vessels, according to Blood Pressure UK.
This process will eventually cause high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.
What’s worse, if you already suffer from hypertension, salt can even further raise your reading.
How much salt can I eat?
The good news is that cutting down on the seasoning is the “simplest” way to lower your blood pressure.
The NHS adds that limiting your salt intake can also reduce your risk of coronary heart disease.
They advise eating no more than six grams of salt a day.
To illustrate this, the amount of six grams is the equivalent of around one teaspoonful.
However, the tricky part about salt is that it’s often hidden in foods you buy in store.
This can make it hard to know how much you’re actually eating as locking up the shaker in your kitchen cupboard might not be enough.
To cut down on your salt intake, Blood Pressure UK recommends:
- Not adding salt to your cooking
- Avoiding salty flavourings
- Trying a salt alternative
- Limiting high-salt foods (smoked processed meats, cooking sauces, condiments, cheese, olives, pickles)
- Reading the labels when you shop.
These tips could help you regain the control of how much salt you’re putting into your body and consequently lower your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
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