Making statements due to World Salt Awareness Week on March 14-20, nephrology specialist Dr. Evrim Bozkaya stated that excessive salt consumption causes major health problems, especially hypertension and kidney damage. Bozkaya said: “Although salt (sodium chloride) is a fundamental physiological component and requirement of the human body, excessive amounts ingested with food cause major health problems, especially hypertension and kidney damage. Salt has been recorded in human history in the 2000s BC for the purpose of preserving food and adding flavor to food.
Salt consumption, which was only 1.5 grams/day in primitive times, increases with learning and today averages about 9-12 grams/day, although it varies in different societies. When the sources of salt intake are examined worldwide, the highest percentage of 68 percent comes from ready-to-eat processed foods. Several studies have clearly shown that excessive salt consumption increases pulse pressure and hardness. Salt restriction has taken its place in the treatment of hypertension. Subsequent studies have shown that excessive salt consumption increases the risk of kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Excessive salt consumption has also been shown to increase the risk of kidney stone formation, gastric cancer and osteoporosis and lead to bronchial hyperresponsiveness.
Bozkaya stated that high salt consumption plays a role in the development of primary hypertension and pointed out that high blood pressure is one of the main causes in renal patients and said: “Primary hypertension is the main trigger for the development of benign nephrosclerosis. Currently, hypertensive kidney disease is the most common cause of chronic renal failure, after diabetic nephropathy. Hypertension can be both the cause of kidney damage and an important consequence. Salt can also cause kidney damage, independent of blood pressure. Salt sensitivity is defined as a decrease in renal excretion of salt and a greater than normal increase in blood pressure in response to salt. In the development of primary hypertension, the insufficiency of renal salt excretion has been suggested as the initiating mechanism. High salt consumption more easily causes the development of hypertension, especially in salt sensitive patients. High salt consumption also increases the risk of developing hypertension with age.
Consume less than a teaspoon of salt, avoid prepared foods
Bozkaya said a low-salt diet is the first approach to treating hypertension: “Kidney disease ends for us with end-stage renal failure and dialysis. To prevent kidney failure in our patients, we especially recommend reducing salt in our outpatient clinics. The kidney works extra and loses extra strength as it tries to get rid of the salt. For this reason, we recommend that our patients with high blood pressure and kidney disease consume less than 6 grams of salt (less than 1 teaspoon) per day.
That’s why we ask them to never add salt to the food and to stay away from ready-to-eat packaged foods. Because a lot of salt is used in ready-to-eat packaged foods for long-term storage. Restrictions and controls by health authorities in this area will have a positive effect on public health. We emphasize salt here rather than the importance of water. Low salt consumption also increases the effect of antihypertensive drugs except calcium channel blockers. In light of current data, salt restriction to 6 grams in hypertensive subjects and between 6-12 grams in normotensive subjects appears appropriate.