In chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, lowering salt intake may benefit heart and kidney health. High salt intake is well known to be associated with worsened heart and kidney health outcomes. Persons with chronic kidney disease may be particularly susceptible to the effects of sodium, which can increase a person’s risk of death by heart disease.
The LowSALT CKD is the first blinded randomized controlled trial comparing high and low salt intake in patients with chronic kidney disease. The researchers compared the effects of a high salt and low salt diet for two weeks in randomized patients.
The researchers found that low salt intake reduced excess extracellular fluid volume, lowered blood pressure, and halved protein excretion in urine.
Researcher Emma McMahon said, “These are clinically significant findings, with this magnitude of blood pressure reduction being comparable to that expected with the addition of an anti-hypertensive medication and larger than effects usually seen with sodium restriction in people without CKD. If maintained long term, this could reduce risk of progression to end-stage kidney disease — where dialysis or transplant is required to survive — by 30 percent.”
The results of the study show that salt reduction is an inexpensive intervention for preventing complications associated with chronic kidney disease and preserving heart health.
Sodium and its effect on people with kidney disease
Excessive salt consumption causes greater fluid retention. Side effects of eating too much sodium include puffiness, swollen ankles, higher blood pressure, shortness of breath, and/or fluid around the heart or lungs.
Majority of Americans consume too much salt, and the recommended allowance is between 1,500 and 2,000 mg a day. Salt is found in just about everything we eat, especially processed and packaged foods. This is why it is recommended that we prepare food for ourselves for more effective control over the amount of salt we consume.
There are ways to easily reduce your salt intake which include swapping salt for herbs and seasonings like garlic, onion, parsley, and avoiding foods high in sodium, especially packaged condiments, cured foods, deli meats, and processed food.
Lifestyle changes to manage chronic kidney disease
In addition to reducing your salt intake, lifestyle changes can go a long way in managing chronic kidney disease, which include not smoking, consuming a healthy diet, cutting down on alcohol, exercising regularly, and paying attention to the medications you take, especially painkillers.