Have Diabetes? How Salt May Aggravate It

Salt and diabetes are two words that you might not think go together. However, watching your dietary salt intake is highly important for your health, especially if you have diabetes. Salt regulates the balance of water, electrolytes and hormones in your body. Its concentration in your blood also influences the absorption of other nutrients which indirectly affects your body’s biochemical behavior. If you have diabetes, you body is much more sensitive to chemical changes in your blood. Any deviation from its equilibrium can result in serious diabetic symptoms and raise your risks of life-threatening medical complications.

High Salt Intake Heightens Cardiovascular Risks

The osmotic balance of your body depends heavily on proper salt concentration. Too much salt extracts water out of your cells and into your tissue space and blood vessels. This influx of water significantly increases your blood volume, subjecting your vessel walls to  too much high pressure. To make matters worse, high dietary salt intake also causes your blood vessels to harden and become brittle. Fragile blood vessels can easily break under higher blood pressure and result in fatal diseases like strokes, arterial thrombosis and brain aneurysms.

If you have diabetes, you are already twice as likely to develop heart disease compared to the rest of the population. You are predisposed to high blood pressure, cholesterol buildups and atherosclerosis. Your heart function is also weaker than normal. Therefore, maintaining adequate blood concentration of salt can make the difference between life and death.

High Salt Diet Leads to Kidney Failure

Studies have shown that about 30% of Type I and 40% of Type II diabetic patients will eventually develop kidney failure. Diabetes damages the your renal blood vessels and nerves so that your kidneys cannot properly filter out the salt, toxins and other metabolic byproducts from your blood. You body retains more water and salt than it should, leading to swelling of your calves, ankles and feet. You may also have proteins and sugar in your urine and waste buildups in your blood. All of these are causes for gradual loss of kidney functions.

If you do not watch your sodium intake, you can accelerate the damage of your kidneys. A high salt diet promotes water retention and tissue swelling. Salt also raises your renal blood pressure which compounds the injury to your renal blood vessels. Studies have shown that having too much salt in your diet is the leading cause of acute renal failure in diabetic patients and is one of primary risk factors of chronic kidney disorder.

Recommended Salt Intake

If you are a diabetic, you should keep your daily salt intake to less than 2,000 milligrams. Read the nutritional panel on your food labels for its sodium content. Avoid highly salted foods like deli meats, salty cheese and canned soups. Use a measuring spoon instead of pouring salt directly from its container when you cook your meals. In short, be extra mindful when it comes to salt and your should be safe from diabetic woes.


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