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Saturday, February 21, 2015

High Blood Pressure - Chronic Kidney Disease, Sodium, and Salt Intake

In patients with chronic kidney disease, management of high blood pressure is crucial. Uncontrolled blood pressures can have devastating effects on your health (heart attack, stroke, death). It is important to check blood pressure frequently and review the numbers with your kidney doctor (nephrologist). Low salt diet (2 gram per day) is the first step. There are many different medications to help with elevated blood pressure. But if you do not decrease your salt intake, control of blood pressure can be very difficult.

With high salt (sodium) intake, you will be more thirsty. As such, you will drink more which can lead to swelling and raise your blood pressure. This can damage your kidneys more and make your heart work harder. One of the best things that you can do to stay healthy is to limit how much salt (sodium) you eat.

To limit sodium in your meal plan:
1. Do not add salt to your food when cooking or eating. One of the first steps in becoming healthy is cooking your own food. With cooking your own food, you will become more health conscious and use healthy ingredients.

2. Try cooking with fresh herbs, lemon juice or other salt-free spices. To make the food delicious and tasty, you do not have to add salt. Fresh herb and lemon juice can be good alternatives. Make sure you do NOT use potassium supplements though (see below)

3. Choose fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables. If you do use canned vegetables, drain and rinse them to remove extra salt before cooking or eating them.

4. Avoid processed meats like ham, bacon, sausage and lunch meats. These foods have high salt content. It is much healthier to cook fresh meat.

5. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables rather than crackers or other salty snacks. As the old saying goes: an apple a day keep the doctor away. Try to have healthy habits during the day. One such habits is eating vegetables.

6. Avoid canned soups and frozen dinners that are high in sodium. Try to cook your own soup with fresh ingredients. Its more delicious! You can eat more of it and yet not worry about gaining weight.

7. Avoid pickled foods, like olives and pickled. Substitute it with healthy fruits like avocado.

8. Limit high-sodium condiments like soy sauce, BBQ sauce and ketchup.

One important point! Be careful with salt substitutes. Many food with "low salt" advertisements are high in potassium. Too much potassium can be dangerous for someone with kidney disease. Potassium is mainly excreted with kidney. Patient with chronic kidney disease have decreased kidney function and as such have excretion of potassium. Make sure to look at the nutritional facts for the food. Avoid high potassium foods. Work with your kidney doctor (nephrology) or dietitian to find low-sodium foods that are also low in potassium.


Ardavan Mashhadian D.O.
1400 S Grand Ave Suite 615, Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 537-0328