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Stress Tied to Risky Salt Retention

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 11:21 AM

If you’re steering clear of French fries, chips and other junk foods to limit your salt intake, new research suggests you might want to also lower your stress level. Georgia Health Sciences University researchers have found stress can cause some people to retain as much salt as eating a small bag of fries or chips.
The study, presented at a Psychogenic Cardiovascular Disease Conference in Italy this week, determined about 30 percent of blacks and 1 in 10 whites hold onto about 160 milligrams of sodium, when stressed.
What’s more, the top number of their blood pressure – indicating the pressure inside blood vessels each time the heart beats – goes up about seven points more than normal and stays elevated about an hour longer. Blood pressure may even remain elevated during sleep in some individuals, researchers said.
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Over a 24-hour period, this can add a daily sodium load of about 500 milligrams on top of typically salt-heavy diets. The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily sodium intake of less than 2,300 milligrams – preferably under 1,500 milligrams.
"This response pattern puts you under a greater blood pressure load over the course of the day and probably throughout the night as well, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Gregory Harshfield, a researcher at the Institute of Public and Preventive Health at Georgia Health Sciences University.
Harshfield’s findings are the latest to come from a $10.6 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute focused on how the body regulates blood pressure in response to stress.
One in three Americans is hypertensive, according to the NHLBI. The majority of sodium consumed is from processed and restaurant foods.
"Everybody knows stress is bad for you and everybody has the perception that a high-salt diet is bad for you, and both are particularly bad for these individuals," said Harshfield. "Every time they are stressed, they hold onto as much salt as you get eating a small order of French fries and this can occur many times over the course of even a good day."
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Stress can cause some people to retain as much salt as eating a small bag of fries or chips, new research shows.
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 11:21 AM
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