Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
New York, NY
January 20, 1999
You may have heard conflicting reports about whether restricting salt in your diet can help lower your blood pressure if it is elevated, or reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure if it is normal. The reports indicated that too much salt can upset your body's fluid balance, and that can lead to high blood pressure.
In recent years, however, medical scientists have learned that some people are salt- sensitive while others are not, and that salt sensitivity may be determined by your genes. Some day, it may be possible to do a simple test to find out who is genetically salt sensitive, but until then, doctors agree that lowering dietary salt is a good step for most people. That doesn't just mean going easy on the salt shaker. You also need to learn to read food labels to check for the sodium content. An estimated 75 percent of the salt in our diet comes from processed foods and baked goods. Here are some tips to help you lower the amount of salt in your diet: