Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can eating too many salty foods affect your health?"
My friend thinks I eat to many salty foods and get to much sodium. She said so because my fingers and feet swell up sometimes. Is this what causes the swelling? Can too much sodium cause problems in your body like this?
Salty foods cause retention of water in the body, because the active ingredient in salt is sodium, which is an important chemical in the body which regulated the retention of water. People who eat excessive amounts of sodium are at risk for water retention, which may cause swelling as well as high blood pressure and other problems. If you have not had a recent annual physical exam with your primary care doctor, I would recommend that you set one up. The annual physical exam is an excellent opportunity to address general health questions like this one. Your doctor will make sure that your heart is in an overall healthy state. They will also look at your weight, your diet, and your blood pressure to make sure those are controlled. They may want to perform some basic blood tests to look at your cholesterol levels, to screen you for diabetes, and to make sure your kidneys are functioning well. Depending on the results of these tests, they will make recommendations about optimal weight, exercise, and perhaps modifying your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They can also give you general advice about how to begin eating a diet that is lower in salt.
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