Tuesday December 11, 2018

Experts: Regulating Salt Intake Key to Prevent Hypertension

Besides affecting the heart and fertility, hypertension can affect the skin too, the health experts said

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Experts: Regulating Salt Intake Key to Prevent Hypertension
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Regulating salt consumption is key to prevent hypertension, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke and heart failure, say experts.

Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure.

To lower the risk of heart disease, adults should reduce sodium intake to less than 2 grams a day, or the equivalent of about one teaspoon of table salt, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Hypertension can lead to cardiovascular diseases. The rise in blood pressure caused by eating too much salt may damage the arteries leading to the heart,” Vijay D’Silva, Director at the Asian Heart Institute, said in statement.

According to a recent study, published in the journal Hypertension, about half of adults living in Asia are suffering from the high blood pressure.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

While lifestyle factors, including diet and stress, are behind the high hypertension rates in Asia, one common problem is high salt intake, the study showed.

Asians not only tend to have diets high in sodium, but they are genetically more sensitive to sodium, the researchers said.

“Raised blood pressure due to high salt consumption is the biggest single contributing risk factor for non-communicable diseases and damage to your kidney,” explained Bhupendra Gandhi of the NGO Amar Gandhi Foundation.

Previously, it was believed that eating high amounts of fruit and vegetables might help counteract the effect of high salt on blood pressure.

Also Read: Breastfeeding May Reduce Hypertension Risk

However, another study led by researchers from the Imperial College London and Northwestern University, showed that people eating higher amounts of salt had higher blood pressure — no matter how healthy a person’s overall diet.

Hypertension can also affect fertility in both males and females, says Rajalaxmi Walavalkar of Cocoon Fertility.

“Anyone with hypertension is at an increased risk of infertility. A high salt diet leading to high blood pressure can result in delayed puberty and even impact reproductive health,” Walavalkar noted.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

Besides affecting the heart and fertility, hypertension can affect the skin too, the health experts said.

“High blood pressure can harden your arteries, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen. An impairment of the flow of oxygen, to an organ such as your face, can cause your skin to dry and wrinkles faster which can make one look less youthful,” said Amit Karkhanis – Medical Cosmetologist and founder of Dr Tvacha clinic.

Hypertension is also known to cause trouble sleeping which leads to signs of premature ageing (fine lines, uneven pigmentation and reduced elasticity).

Reducing salt consumption in everyday life, including fried foods, processed foods, can not only curb the problem of hypertension but also save multiple organs from damage and pave way for a healthy life. (IANS)

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Farms In The USA Affected Due To Rise In Ocean And Salinity Levels

Farming the land may not be the best option. Another choice is to give in to nature and turn fields into wetlands.

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ocean, water, farms
Dr. Jessica Ball of USGS, a geologist and volcanologist who does research at the US Geological Survey, is updating Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists on the ground during a helicopter overflight of the ocean entry of the fissure 8 lava flow where a laze (lava haze) plume is visible over the active parts of the flow margin near Kapoho, Hawaii, June 8, 2018. VOA

The fields grow shoulder-high with weeds out the window of Bob Fitzgerald’s Ford pickup. The drive through Fitzgerald’s neighborhood in Princess Anne, Maryland, is a tour of dying forests and abandoned cropland.

“A few years ago, all of this was a good farm,” he said. “And it’s gone, as a farm.”

The land along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay has been sinking for centuries. But climate change is adding a second whammy. As the sea level rises, salt water is seeping into the water table, deeper and deeper inland. The ground is becoming too salty for crops to grow.

Maryland’s Eastern Shore is home to some of the oldest farms in America. Fitzgerald’s dates back to 1666. He’s seen big changes in his lifetime.

“You just can’t believe how it’s taking things over in the last 15 or 20 years,” Fitzgerald said. “I can show you land around here that people raised tomatoes on when I was a little boy. And now it’s gone.”

Around the world, scientists warn that coastal farms are under threat from rising seas and encroaching salt water. A World Bank report estimates rice yields in coastal areas of Bangladesh may fall by more than 15 percent by 2050. Another report found that hundreds of millions of people will likely be displaced by rising waters.

Kate Tully aims to help keep Eastern Shore farmers in business as the seas rise.

The University of Maryland agroecologist had seen the “ghost forests” of dying pine trees killed by the increasingly salty soil. When she started looking at maps, she said, “I realized that a lot of the land that was upslope wasn’t just forests, it was farms. And so I started poking around and talking to people and asking if this was an issue on farms.”

It was. But “a lot of people hadn’t really been talking about it” outside their own communities, she said.

With a new $1.1 million research grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Tully and her colleagues are aiming to give farmers options.

water, farm
Farmer Joe Layton Jr., of Vienna, stands in a field of recently planted soybean crop Wednesday, June 11, 2003. In front soybeans begin to sprout up but because of the wet weather, many seeds rotted in the soil and did not sprout. VOA

Test plots scattered around the Eastern Shore are trying out different crops.

“One thing that I’m very pleasantly surprised about is how well the sorghum does,” Tully said. The grain crop may be a good choice to feed the roughly 600 million chickens raised in the region each year. It’s a hardy crop that can handle salt, drought and heavy rains.

Tully’s group is also testing barley to supply the growing microbrew industry; the oilseed canola; switchgrass, a possible biofuel crop; and salt-tolerant soybeans.

Just being able to grow a crop isn’t enough, though. It also has to be profitable. An economist on the team will be running the numbers.

“I never want to recommend something that would make farmers go out of business,” Tully said.

But farming the land may not be the best option. Another choice is to give in to nature and turn fields into wetlands.

Farms in countryside
Farm in countryside, Pixabay

Wetlands attract waterfowl. Waterfowl attract hunters.

“There’s money in duck hunting,” Tully said. Hunting clubs will pay farmers for exclusive access to wetlands on their property. “It can be a lucrative pathway.”

Also Read:  Whale Art To Raise Awareness About Ocean Pollution

Tully and her colleagues are just getting started. It will be a few years before they have recommendations for what will sustain communities that have been farming this land for centuries.

“There’s a lot of history there. And as these seas rise, some of that history is going underwater,” Tully said. “And I find that to be a pretty moving, pretty motivating reason to try to figure out what we can do for these farmers.” (VOA)