SALT & HYPERTENSIONNow, in continuation to my previous article about hypertension,the next common question is about DIET/LIFE STYLE IN HYPERTENSION.As we all know the first thing that is advised for a patient,when diagnosed as HTN/Pre-HTN is "LOW SALT DIET","KEEP AWAY FROM STRESS"But how do you measure& cut down on the salt?What is the daily requirement of salt?What has salt got to do with HTN control?It is mainly the amount of Na++(sodium) in the salt which matters, which has a role with control of HTN.WHAT DOES Na++ DO?Na++ is one of the main electrolyte in ion transport that happens in the cells of the body, which leads to Increased contractile capacity of blood vessel wallalso to some extent stimulate growth of smooth muscle cell, thereby increasing vessel wall thickness, in turn the resistance offered by the vessel.Daily recommended dose of salt is 5gms/day.That is almost equal to LEVEL TEASPOON of salt.Amount of salt in our diet!! How do we measure the salt we consume??It is mainly the unseen/HIDDEN salt that is present in our daily diet habits!What is this unseen/HIDDEN salt-salt present in our snacks,pickles,chutneys,sauces(ex:soya sauces)ketchups,chips,salted biscuits,cheese,salted butter.Also most of the processed/packaged food also have hidden extra amount of salt,because salt is added as a preservative.but most food lables only report sodium as grams per 100grams of food.To convert to salt multiply by 2.5 i.e. 1gm of sodium per 100 gms of food is almost equivalent to the saltiness of seawater!How to control on salt intake?First & foremost thing is to avoid packaged & processed food.Only choose food items with no more than 0.3gms of sodium per 100gms of food Do not add salt to cooking,instead add only at the table,so that you'll have better control of your salt intake.Alternative is ,suppose in a family of 4 members the daily recommended salt intake is 3.5 level TSP per day,so that 0.5 gms will be given as a margin for hidden salt intake.Instead of salt one can add pepper,garlic,herbs(mint/oregano/parsley/coriander),Lemon as flavoring agents.Other dietary/lifestyle changes:Salt intake is one of the main dietary changes advised in hypertension.DIET:Other dietary changes include-Diet rich in Whole grains, fruits & vegetables (5 servings per day),Low fat dairy products & decrease on saturated fat & cholesterolThis can lower BP by upto 14mm HgFor more information one ca visit these websites-http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974,http://foodpyramidindia.org/Fruits & vegetables-1 serving =1cup of cut fruits/vegetables (or) 80-100 gms, of locally available fruits & vegetables per day i.e. 450-500 gms each day.But in India per capita consumption actual national average is 140GMS/DAY!!!ALCOHOL:Moderation in alcohol consumption-Men <14 units per weekWomen <7 units per week(ASH guidelines) One alcohol unit is measured as 10ml or 8gm of pure alcohol.This equals one 25ml single measure of whisky(ABV* 40%), or a third of a pint of beer(ABV* 5-6%) or half a standard glass of red wine i.e 175ml (ABV*12%)*ABV=Alcohol By VolumePHYSICAL ACTIVITY & STRESS MANAGEMENT:Atleast 30-60 min of moderate physical activity,min of 5days a week can lower blood pressure by 4-9mm HgMake sure you take stairs in you work place rather than lift,walk to the market,walk with your children to their school or activity center/tutions.Get involved in group activities:Dance /cook with friends & family, so that every one will have quality time together as well as a stress buster.In practical,all the above said things looks simple & easy,BUT the very important aspect is ADOPTION & MAINTENANCE of life style modifications,where most of us fail!Try & adhere to the changes one at a time.I would call it as INVESTING ON HEALTH!!We see people chasing behind possessions & positions,often forget on their health-at the end of it all you'll just be spending all your possessions on your illness!Now its your choice to draw a line b/w health & wealth!