Sodium and Potassium Imbalance Can Cause Hypertension

People develop hypertension or high-blood pressure for several reasons. It may be in the genes or due to a kidney disorder as well as stress related factors. The most common causes however are due to dietary intakes that result to excessive salt in our body. Excessive salt intakes will result to an imbalance between sodium and potassium that causes hypertension in our body.

Excessive salt is quite easy to understand, but as to how sodium and potassium imbalance causes hypertension seems a bit more complicated.

How Sodium and Potassium Imbalance Causes Hypertension

Sodium and potassium are two important electrolyte nutrients that the body uses for proper nerve functions, energy production, cell renewal, and many other bodily functions.

Salt, whose chemical composition is sodium chloride, is the main source of sodium. It is broken down as sodium and chloride during the body’s metabolic processes. Water that is not distilled also contains salt hence; water is also a source of sodium and chloride ions.

Our body cells are said to contain fluids composed of several minerals, which includes sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride. As studies in science have already determined, there must be a proper balance between the sodium and potassium minerals contained in every cell, for the body cells to function properly.

Some of the important cell functions attributed to sodium and potassium balance are:

• The production of acid and digestive enzymes used to break down food to provide energy for the body;

• To enable the nerves to react in terms of impulse reactions to external factors such as heat, cold, or pain felt by the body;

• To enable the heart or cardiovascular system to function properly;

Any deficiency in sodium or potassium does not result to life threatening issues, but any serious distortion or disproportion with the amount of potassium as against sodium, creates complications often resulting to heart attacks.

Imbalance results not out of potassium or sodium deficiency but mostly due to excessive sodium. Potassium deficiency on the other hand may arise from unhealthy fad diets.

When there is too much sodium in the body fluids, the kidney takes on its natural role of excreting unused or unwanted substances like sodium. However, if the amount of sodium being excreted by the kidney is beyond the kidney’s normal capacity, the problem will now arise.

Near the kidney is a vascular system or fluid carrying vessels which carry the excessive sodium and will constrict or close itself to blood flow if the kidney is slow in taking out the sodium it carries. The vascular system closes in order to increase the blood pressure near the kidney, which creates a push or force that will prod the kidney to remove the excess sodium.

Although this is a natural process, it is not a normal occurrence and may cause blood pressure to rise at a dangerous level if it will not be addressed in due time. It can be remedied by increasing fluid intakes so the kidney can have enough water to excrete sodium. The sodium excretion may have been resolved but there is now the elevated blood pressure that needs to be dealt with.

The matter of controlling elevated blood pressure on the other hand can be remedied by using diuretic methods. The kidney took in a lot of water in order to excrete the sodium out of the system. To aid the kidney in producing more urine, a diuretic substance that can induce the kidney to produce more urine will be recommended by the doctor.

However, diuretics may also cause the kidney to excrete potassium, hence the doctor will also prescribe a potassium supplement to avoid the possible occurrence of sodium to potassium imbalance.

Thus, the body can naturally control blood pressure by drinking more water and taking in dietary substances that can promote the process of diuretics and take care of replenishing lost potassium. This then prevents sodium and potassium imbalance that can cause hypertension.