Salt, Blood Pressure, and Diabetes—The Important Links
Those who suffer from diabetes must take additional steps to care for their health. One such step is making sure blood pressure levels remain low. Dietary factors can contribute to high blood pressure; having too much salt in even an otherwise healthy diabetic diet can frequently lead to higher blood pressure levels. While many diabetics are aware of the need to make sure that they take their medication—whether it’s pills or insulin medicine delivered via an Easytouch insulin syringe or insulin pen needles—salt consumption is a frequent blind spot for people generally, and can be particularly dangerous for diabetics.
Unfortunately, those with diabetes commonly suffer from high blood pressure. In fact, roughly 20% to 60% of people with diabetes also have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is serious because it sets the stage for other adverse health problems. Ailments those with high blood pressure might have to deal with include heart disease, strokes, retinopathy, and more. There is a definitive link between high blood pressure and salt intake. This is why those with diabetes must take steps to reduce the amount of salt consumed in their diet. Particularly for those with Type 2 Diabetes, who are more likely to be obese, sodium intake is an important consideration for health.
Research Shows Link between Diabetes, Diet, and Blood Pressure Risk
The Cochrane Review performed 13 studies that centered on 254 adults suffering from diabetes. The clinical study lasted about one week and the entire process focused on significantly reducing the amount of salt these people consumed in their diet. The goal of the study was to determine whether or not the reduced salt intake would reduce blood pressure levels. The conclusion of the studies revealed very clear results. Blood pressure levels dropped noticeably when the amount of salt in a subject’s diet was cut. This means that managing sodium intake is at least as important as monitoring and managing blood sugar levels—whether you have Type 2 Diabetes or Type 1 Diabetes.
Unfortunately, ingesting a significant amount of salt is commonplace among people who are not keeping tabs on how much they consume. Not very many people are concerned about their intake of salt. In the United States, the average amount of sodium (salt) consumed by a typical person is 4,000 mg per day. The recommended amount of salt is around 2,300 mg per day. For someone who has diabetes, consuming salt in such quantities can be very problematic. Again, a person with diabetes likely already has elevated blood pressure level. Ingesting even more salt can increase blood pressure and, in turn, increase various associated health risks. A healthy diabetic diet takes salt into consideration—and limits it as much as possible.
How Can You Eat Too Much Salt?
Most people do not put a lot of salt in their food. So, they might not think they are ingesting very much of it. Adding table salt to food serving might not be the cause of high sodium levels. Rather, the problem may actually come from making less than healthy food choices. Fast food, processed food, and common junk food snacks are loaded with salt. Many people have no idea how much salt they are ingesting because they do not read the labels of the foods they purchase. Someone suffering from diabetes does not have this luxury. Reading labels and keeping proper count of salt intake is a must. Again, studies show the less salt someone consumes, the more likely it is for blood pressure to remain lower. Perhaps the next time you are shopping for needed diabetic accessories, you can look for a low-salt cook book for ideas.
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