High-salt diets generally tend to alter the sodium balance in the body, causing the kidneys to malfunction and retain excess water. This process puts strain on the kidneys and may even lead to renal failure.
The kidneys, through a process of osmosis, draw excess water out of the blood, which is why it is essential to maintain a proper balance of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium in the body.
Hypertension is another key driving factor for renal failure. There is a definite correlation between salt consumption and hypertension. Excess salt consumption may lead to hypertension, which in turn can cause kidney failure.
Hypertension is the second leading cause of kidney failure in India.
High blood pressure gradually damages the kidneys, causing kidney failure in the long run. On the other hand, if one controls his/her level of blood pressure by regulating salt intake, the chances of developing kidney disease are minimized. So, it is imperative to regulate the sodium intake in our diet to ensure good health of the kidneys.
WHAT NOT TO EAT:
Eating junk food and too many cheesy, oily foods is resulting in widespread obesity and diabetes among millennials and young adults. Recent studies show that there has been a surge in the number of patients in the age group of 25-30 seeking dialysis. Therefore, it is essential to follow a diet that is optimal, flavorful, and beneficial to the body.
Kidney (Renal) Stones
As well as being a risk factor for kidney disease, a high salt diet has been associated with renal stones. Urinary calcium, the main constituent of renal stones, is increased by a high salt diet and this increases the risk of stones forming. Several studies have successfully shown that a reduction in salt consumption can reduce calcium excretion, and reduce the reoccurrence of renal stones.
Hypercalciuria is present in 80% of renal stone patients and it has also been found that individuals with raised blood pressure are more likely to develop renal stones. A reduction in salt intake may therefore be of particular benefit to these people as it not only lowers blood pressure but can also reduce urinary calcium excretion. A diet designed to reduce hypertension (the DASH diet) is associated with a marked decrease in kidney stone risk.
Who is most at risk of kidney stones?
People with high blood pressure, persistent urinary infections, and Crohn’s disease are at greater risk of renal stones. Also, men between the ages of 30-60, and those with a family history of kidney stones are at greater risk.
Current Salt Intake & Dietary Advice
The daily recommended amount is no more than 6 grams a day; the current average salt intake is around 8g of salt a day although many people are eating more than this.
People with or considered at risk of kidney disease or renal failure should ensure that they keep their salt intake below the recommended maximum of 6g.
REGULATE DIETARY SODIUM
The advisable sodium intake is 5-6 grams per day, which is around a teaspoon of salt.
Those under dialysis or who have a history of chronic kidney disease (CKD) are strongly advised to avoid any food that contains over 250 mg of salt.
Reduce your salt in food gradually. It is easier to cut your total salt consumption little by little rather than at once