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High Blood Pressure, Stroke & Salt
Where can I find a dietitian who works with people who have high blood pressure or have had a stroke?
I also would like to know what it is that will make someone who has high blood pressure for their sugar to be up one day and then the next day their sugar may bottom out on them?
If your food intake is regulated correctly by diabetes medication (pills or injected insulin), you shouldn't be experiencing wide swings in blood glucose levels. However if you aren't eating 3 evenly spaced meals a day or periodically overeat, your diabetes medication will have a difficult time regulating your blood sugar. It's time to discuss your blood pressure, diabetes medication management and blood glucose with your doctor who can best advise you. Bring your records of your daily blood pressure and blood sugar to your doctor. Ask to talk to a dietitian who can read your medical chart and discuss the best nutrition therapy for all your health concerns.
Stress can make your blood pressure and blood sugar go up. While the body's mechanisms that regulate blood pressure and blood sugar are different, there is one common organ - the kidneys. While the adrenal glands (organs that sit on top of kidyens) help your kidneys to retain sodium (salt is sodium chloride), your body also produces hormones to regulate blood pressure. Blood pressure can change from minute to minute which allows your body to fight or run.
Insulin helps glucose get into cells which convert glucose to fuel thereby lowering your blood sugar and glucagon releases glucose from your liver (or muscles during exercise) when your blood sugar is low. High blood glucose irritates the kidneys which will remove glucose from the blood and dump it in urine usually in the case of someone with unregulated or undiagnosed diabetes. Blood glucose also changes from minute to minute depending on what you eat, when you eat and calories spent doing exercise.
I am not pregnant.
I don't set amount of time to do exercise. But I walk stairs and up walk up steep hills and play with my mom's babysitting kids. I also am on my feet at all times while I am at work which is pretty often.
One thing I don't do is drink a lot of water like I should, but I usually get in 2 glasses of skim milk, 2 glasses of water and around 2 cans of pop through out a day.
Thank u for writing me back. If I was pregnant would this cause me to retain water and cause my hands to swell? I am just curious.
I would recommend you drink more water, around 8 cups per day assuming you have normal kidney function. To check if you are drinking enough water, pay attention to the color of your urine and then read the fluid topic.
I would recommend you call your doctor and ask him / her why your hands would swell after your evening meal, but before bedtime. Your doctor should be made aware of any changes in your health. Don't accept swollen hands as inevitable just because you think it is hereditary.
Based on new calcium recommendations, would suggest you increase milk to 3 cups per day.
Thank you for responding so quickly.
The answers to some of your questions: I do notice the swelling when my hands are down at my side. No the swelling does not occur while I am sleeping it usually occurs around 7:00 P.M. or 8:00 P.M.. I don't like Asian foods and I do not eat stir fry foods at all.
This is just very hard to try and figure out what causes my hands to swell up besides it being heredity because I am only 20 years old and my mother just started to have these side affects 3 to 5 years ago.
Thank you again for responding back I will look into other salt supplements.
I would guess that the sodium content in your evening meal is higher than the rest of the day. Are you pregnant? Do you exercise? Regular physical exercise helps the body to move fluids better.
You may want to read my potassium topic as while sodium is outside every cell in your body, potassium is inside every cell. It is the dynamic balance between these two minerals that manages fluid balance in the body. Also, do you drink enough fluid during the day? If you aren't sure, read my fluids topic as well.
I have a question about my hands swelling up at night. I even have a ring mark on my right hand from my fingers swelling up. Some of this swelling is heredity. I do know that because my hands swell form any thing with too much salt, pork and certain hams. Is there anything that I can use in place of salt to add flavor to my foods that wouldn't cause my hands to swell up?
I would appreciate an answer a soon as possible. Thank you very much!
Another seasoning that can cause or add to swelling is monosodium glutamate (MSG) or the brand name seasoning Accent. Some people are more sensitive to this and soy sauce which is also high in sodium. Both of these seasonings are used in Asian or stir fry cooking. Do you notice more swelling after eating Asian or stir fry meals?
Look in the salt and high blood pressure topic for a seasoning shaker that doesn't contain salt. It will be one of the last questions. Also read this topic for more info on foods high in sodium.
Please help me find an answer to my 82-year-old grandmother's problem. She is in the hospital now and her sodium level keeps dropping. Is there something that would cause this depletion? The doctors do not know why her sodium level keeps going down. I believe at present that her level is at 143. Please respond as soon as possible.
Her doctors should be checking her heart, kidney or adrenal glands and diabetes to determine the cause of decreasing sodium levels. An intravenous solution with sodium or salting her food should keep her sodium levels within norms which are 135 - 147 mEq / L in the US. Her level is not low at 143 and within norms. Would suggest you re-check this value if you have been told that her sodium is low.
The kidneys are responsible for regulating sodium levels in the blood. Other factors could make her sodium levels drop including:
Thank you for responding so soon to my letter about my grandmother's sodium level. I was incorrect about her present count. It is at 123, not 143. I have relayed your suggestions to my mother so she can ask her doctors about testing for certain things. I appreciate your quick response and hope something you suggested will help find out why her sodium level keeps going down. My mother said her level hasn't been even near 130 in over a week. Thanks so much for your help.
Sodium is found around the outside of all cells and so integral to the electrolyte balance (conveys an electrical charge when in a liquid like the blood or water around cells) in the body. Potassium is another electrolyte, but it is found inside cells.
What do excess amounts of salt do to the body?
It would depend on how much excess salt (or salty foods) you ate in how much time and how well your kidneys functioned. Salt is a compound containing 2 minerals, sodium and chloride and it attracts water.
When the salt content of your blood goes up, it attracts water from around your cells (in muscles and organs) into your blood to dilute it. Otherwise, your blood would be too salty. There is salt as sodium outside every cell in your body. When the salt content of the fluid around your cells goes up, it attracts water from your blood and swelling occurs.
Your kidneys are responsible for regulating salt and water levels in your body. When salt and water levels increase around cells, the excess is drawn into your blood, which is filtered by your kidneys. Your kidneys remove excess salt and water from your blood, both of which are excreted as urine. When your kidneys don't work well, fluid builds up around cells and in your blood. Your heart is the pump that pushes your blood around. If there is more fluid in your blood, your heart has to work harder and your blood pressure can go up because there is more pressure on the walls of your blood vessels. Your heart can get weaker or worn out from the extra work.
Salt has been blamed in the past as causing high blood pressure. New research though is suggesting that too little calcium or potassium as having some impact on blood pressure. So salt may not be the only bad guy after all.
My blood pressure (systolic) is rising surprisingly (usually 130 or less, now up to 145 over the last month or so). We have changed our diet to lots of pasta, (controlling the calories) and less (very much less) meat. This is not a health move, just cooking from a great cookbook which has the best recipes we have ever enjoyed.
Pasta would not cause your blood pressure to rise and new research suggests it may not be salt either. But you know how the research pendulum swings so I wouldn't overdo using salt. The research focus now points to calcium and potassium levels as impacting blood pressure. So I would ask if you drink at least 16 oz of milk per day or the equivalent 2 oz of natural cheese to get enough calcium? As long as you don't drink lots of carbonated beverages or eat too much meat (both high sources of phosphorus), your calcium levels should be normal with an adequate intake of calcium rich foods.
To get enough potassium, do you drink orange juice, eat bananas or other good sources? As long as you have normal functioning kidneys and haven't had diarrhea or vomiting, the potassium levels inside your cells and in your blood should be normal.
Another factor is aerobic exercise which can stress your heart to become a stronger, better pump. Perhaps the lack of exercise during winter has contributed to your heart's punping efficiency? I would suggest 30 minutes of exercise, five times per week, that increases your heart rate, but not to the point of becoming short of breath. You should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising as a guide for how hard to exercise.
My husband has high blood pressure (140/95) and moderately high cholesterol (210). He is currently taking medication to control his blood pressure. While he needs to reduce the fat and cholesterol in his diet, he doesn't need to lose weight - he's 6'6" and 200 lb. He consumes approx.3500-4000 calories per day. My blood pressure and cholesterol are low (105/65, 159), but I need to lose about 40 pounds. I'd appreciate any suggestions on how I can meet each of our needs without preparing separate meals. Thanks for your help!
Both of you should eat less than 30% of your calories from fat. Choose lean meats and dairy products. Limit your use of added fat to one food per meal. For instance, put margarine on your potato or bread or dressing on your salad, but not all three. This would help your husband lower his cholesterol to under 200 and you to lose weight. If you husband is over 60, I wouldn't worry about his cholesterol, but for a healthy diet, I would suggest eating a low fat menu.
In addition, your husband should limit the sodium to 2400 mg per day. I would suggest food be cooked without salt, that you avoid salty foods and take the salt shaker off the table. New research suggests that insufficient calcium in a person's diet can increase blood pressure. Does your husband drink 3 glasses of skim milk per day or get the equivalent of 1000 mg of calcium per day? If he is not allergic to milk or milk products, I would suggest he include three servings of skim milk or low fat milk products in his daily menu.
I would suggest you talk to a Registered Dietitian who can assist you in combining all your health concerns so that you can cook one meal that you both can enjoy for health. Since your husband is probably taller than you, though you didn't provide your height, he can eat larger portions of the same food you eat.
I am a 56-year-old woman who has recently been diagnosed with CHF (Congestive Heart Failure). Part of my treatment is a diet low in salt and fat. When one says "low is salt" how much is permitted in a daily diet?
I asked my physician this and he said just not to "add" any salt to anything. I think this is too general because many foods are very high in salt. Can you give me a ball part figure. Thank you.
The salt (sodium chloride) recommendation would depend on your symptoms. It could range from 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day. I would suggest you ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian who can read your medical chart and give you more specific nutritional advice.
If you don't add salt at the table or cook with salt and don't eat salty foods like ham, bacon, sauerkraut or any canned food, you would get about 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams per day. The new food label lists sodium content in milligrams per serving.
You need to limit salt because your heart is not as effective a pump as it was when you were young. Fluid will collect in your ankles or your lungs depending on which part of your heart isn't pumping as well. Limiting salt will reduce the fluid you retain, the lower your blood pressure and therefore less fluid for your heart to pump around.
A low fat diet (less than 30% calories from fat or 33 grams fat per 1,000 calories) may have been recommended for weight loss which will reduce the work your heart does just to maintain your body during normal physical activities. Your dietitian can work this into your nutrition therapy with a meal plan limited in salt and fat.
What tips food wise or otherwise for lowering high blood pressure might you have?
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure (bottom blood pressure number greater than 90 mm), you should be limiting foods high in sodium and lose weight. How much you should restrict sodium in foods you eat depends on what your doctor recommended.
Generally, you should stick to fresh, unprocessed foods, not add salt to your food after cooking (only add half the salt in a recipe) and avoid salty foods (like fast foods, ham, bacon, sausages, canned vegetables or soups and sauerkraut). This level would be called a mild salt restriction (3,000 to 4,000 mg sodium). You probably should not use a salt substitute (potassium chloride) or reduced salt shaker either. Your doctor may also want you to not use salt in cooking. This level would contain 1,000 to 2,000 mg sodium. Ask to see a dietitian.
FYI Salt is 40% sodium and 60% chloride.
Foods high in sodium do not necessarily taste salty.
Persons who smoke tend to add more salt to their food.
I've been using a salt substitute, but it leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Can you recommend the best tasting salt substitute?
Salt substitutes usually contain potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride as found in salt. The salt substitute makes you produce saliva much in the same way salt does. However, the potassium does leave a bitter aftertaste like saccharin. An alternative "seasoning shaker" can be made at home. Why don't you try the following recipe?
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 tsp. basil, ground
1 tsp. marjoram, ground
1 tsp. thyme, ground
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. savory
1 tsp. mace
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. sage
Combine all seasonings in a salt shaker with large holes. Use the shaker in cooking or at the table to season food to taste.
A word of caution though for persons with ulcers or colitis, cayenne pepper and black pepper should be omitted since they can cause an excess secretion of acid in the stomach.
My husband is on a salt free diet (1-gram sodium). He's easy to please at mealtime with meat and potatoes, but he does miss his desserts to finish off a meal. He is not overweight. Can you suggest some salt-free desserts?
Any dessert that contains baking soda, baking powder, salt or buttermilk will be too high in sodium for your husband. This would also include all box mixes for cakes, muffins, cookies, bars or quick breads.
I would suggest you go to your local drugstore and ask your pharmacist to make sodium-free baking powder. Here is the formula.
Sodium-Free Baking Powder
7.5 grams tartaric acid
56.1 grams potassium bitartrate
39.8 grams bicarbonate
28 grams cornstarch
To use this sodium-free baking powder, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the above mixture to a recipe calling for one teaspoon of regular baking powder. It should be added toward the end of mixing and beaten only enough to mix.
Make all your desserts from scratch and adapt them to omit or substitute ingredients with added salt. You should bake the recipe at the same temperature and time in the directions.
My husband is on a low salt diet for high blood pressure. He tells me his food tastes blah. Recently, he has been sprinkling soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce on his meat. It is all right to use them on his diet?
No, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce are both too high in sodium and not allowed on a low salt diet.
Soy sauce has between 825 and 1029 milligrams per tablespoon. Worcestershire sauce has 234 per tablespoon. The indiscriminate sprinkling of these sauces is difficult to estimate. He is probably not aware of how much he is using.
I would instead suggest a seasoning shaker of spices and herbs or one of the newer vegetable seasoning shakers that are low in sodium.
Is potato sausage high in sodium or calories? Should a person on high blood pressure medication eat potato sausage?
Sausage is high fat meat and contains about 100 calories per ounce and approximately 390 milligrams of sodium per ounce. For a three ounce serving that equals about 300 calories and 1170 milligrams of sodium. A person with high blood pressure and on blood pressure medication should not eat sausages or similar salt cured meats.
Potato sausage is usually a locally prepared fresh sausage. The recipe will vary from store to store and the butcher does probably not measure the amount of salt added per pound of ground meat. I asked my butcher about potato sausage and although he would not give me the recipe for potato sausage, he did say the casing for potato sausage is beef and is stored in salt brine before being stuffed.
The preferred method of treatment for high blood pressure is a salt restricted diet of three to four grams of sodium per day. A person with high blood pressure would be wise to not eat the potato sausage with sodium content of almost 1200 milligrams in a three-ounce serving.
I think my husband salts his food too much. So I switched to Lite Salt. He doesn't have a blood pressure problem yet, but I think he uses too much salt. I don't put the salt shaker on the table, but he goes and gets it anyway. How can I stop him from using salt?
Remember the saying, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink"? Well the same is true for changing another person's eating habits. It has to be up to him to cut down on added salt.
Your body can do fine on just the sodium found in uncooked foods as they are found in nature. This amount would be about 1,000 milligrams of sodium if all foods were cooked without salt.
Salt as we know it is actually sodium chloride. Sodium contributes about 40% to the weight of the compound. So 2,500 milligrams of salt is actually only 1,000 milligrams of sodium.
What you can do is provide a food environment with less salt in it and allow your husband to make his food choices. Use the following buying and cooking guidelines to reduce salt intake.
If you want to cut down on your husband's salt intake, buy and cook foods that are as close to how they grow on the farm as possible. Eliminate all or most salt cured meats (hot dogs, lunchmeats, sausages, ham, bacon and pickled and smoked meats). When you cook or bake, add none or half of the salt called for in the recipe and be sure to use a measuring spoon. For instance, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat cooked. Don't add canned or dried soups or bouillon cubes to recipes. Make a white sauce from scratch or add your own blend of dried spices and herbs to recipes. Switch to the salt-less version of spices (e.g. onion powder instead of onion salt). Don't buy salted snack foods or salted crackers. There are many crackers available in grocery stores with salt-free tops or low salt ingredients. There are even reduced sodium dry roasted peanuts. Pickles and olives are high in salt.
Yes, leave the salt shaker off the table. Don't even fill the salt shaker with salt. If your husband chooses to get the salt shaker, let him be. No amount of nagging or angry looks will change his behavior.
Since you have switched to Lite Salt, you should know about those type products. Most reduced sodium salts are half salt (sodium chloride) and half salt substitute (potassium chloride).
The potassium chloride causes a person to produce saliva and enhances the taste of food much in the same way salt does. If used to excess, potassium chloride can leave a bitter aftertaste. One-half teaspoon of salt substitute equals the potassium found in one large banana, one-half winter squash and one cup of orange juice or 1 large potato. A word of caution about potassium chloride salt substitute. You need normal functioning kidneys so that the excess potassium is excreted. A high potassium level in your body is as dangerous as high sodium.
By substituting Lite Salt in your salt shaker, you may achieve a reduced salt intake for your husband, but he has not changed his shaker habit. I would suggest a pamphlet from the American Heart Association called "Shake the Salt Habit". It is available from your local heart association or public health department. Suggest your husband read it. Food habits are more likely to change with information, not force.
Is celery high is salt? I am on a salt-free diet and the least bit of salty foods makes me retain water. I love to eat celery, but I don't put salt on it.
Yes, celery contains 35.2 milligrams of sodium in one stalk, but compared to other foods like ham is it not too high. Other vegetables that should be limited to 1/2 cup per day are: beets; beet greens; carrots; dandelion greens; kale; mustard greens; spinach; Swiss chard; white turnips; frozen peas; frozen lima beans; tomato juice, sauce, paste or puree. The sodium values range from 35 to 155 milligrams for one cup cooked of any above vegetable. Celery is the highest in sodium and one cup is about six, five inch by three-quarters inch sticks.
These vegetables do not taste salty compared to ham (one cup chopped has 1938 milligrams sodium). Also, they are not usually omitted from mild salt restricted or even low salt diets. People on diets of less than 1,000 milligrams are usually instructed to limit or omit beets, carrots, celery and spinach from their diet. Small amounts of these vegetables, used to flavor soups or stews, are not usually omitted even on low sodium diets.
So if you are on a salt restricted diet of less than 1,000 milligrams or less, you should not eat celery, even without salting it. I would like to suggest you try green pepper, green onions, cauliflower or broccoli for munching instead. They are low in sodium and calories as well.
Do you have any idea how much salt is in softened water? We recently had a water softener installed in our house. After watching my husband pour those 40 pound bags of salt in the tank, I began wondering how much salt we are getting in our drinking and cooking water.
Softened water is about ten times higher in sodium than unsoftened water. According to the results of a water test performed locally by a national water softening company. Untreated water had 13.3 milligrams of sodium per liter and softened water had 114 milligrams of sodium per liter. Though this amount is not too high, researchers have found that hard water is more beneficial for your heart.
The magnesium and calcium content is higher in hard water areas. Whereas, the content of these two minerals is low in soft water areas. The incidence of heart attacks is higher in soft water areas.
So if your water is too hard on your household plumbing and you install a water softener, I would suggest that you bypass the cold water faucet in the kitchen. Use this hard, unsoftened water for all drinking and cooking. It may be much better for your body's plumbing.
Which diet pop has the least amount of salt in it? I've been drinking four to five cans of diet pop a day. I've read it contains lots of salt.
Diet pop contains less than 100 milligrams of sodium per 12 ounce can. That amount of sodium is less than one slice of bread. Diet colas contain less sodium than lemon lime diet pop. Regular pop has less sodium than diet pop. Before aspartame, when sodium saccharin was used to sweeten diet beverages, the sodium content was slightly higher, but still under 100 milligrams per 12 fluid ounces.
I am not concerned with diet pop as a significant source of sodium, unless you have been instructed to follow a low sodium diet of less than 1,000 milligrams per day. What I am concerned about is your drinking four to five cans per day. I would suggest limiting your intake of diet pop to less than two cans per day.
I have high blood pressure and have been on a low salt diet. Can I eat regular canned vegetables if I rinse them off before cooking?
No, you should not eat vegetables canned with salt. Also, you cannot rinse the salt off before heating the canned vegetables.
I would suggest you buy frozen vegetables, but read the label first. Some frozen lima beans and frozen peas do contain some salt. The new vegetable mixtures and vegetable dishes may also contain salt. You can look in your grocery store for brand name "salt-free" canned vegetables. They should be located in the regular vegetable section and should be priced about the same as canned with salt vegetables.
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