CardioHealth

Jacksonville, Fl Cardiologist

Is your blood pressure in a healthy or an unhealthy range?

Know your numbers! 

If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should monitor your blood pressure regularly. Maintaining an awareness of your numbers can alert you to any changes and help you detect patterns. Tracking your results over time will also reveal if the changes you’ve made are working. 

Too Much Salt Puts Added Stress on Heart

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A recent study confirms that consuming more than 3,700 mg of sodium daily taxes the heart.

Excess sodium intake puts added stress on the heart, based on a recent study that found adults consuming more than 3,700 mg of sodium a day had reduced heart function.

Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, this study looked at the association between sodium intake and heart function. It included nearly 3,000 U.S. adults participating in the Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology study, which investigates the genetics of high blood pressure.

Participants came from four U.S. sites including Salt Lake City, UT; Forsyth County, NC; Minneapolis, MN; and Birmingham, AL. Upon enrollment, participants underwent imaging to assess heart function and provided urine samples, which were used to assess sodium intake.

Half had high blood pressure at the start of the study, which was defined as having a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher.

Based on urine analysis performed at the start of the study, participants consumed a median of 3,730 mg a day, which is high but similar to the average American diet. Currently dietary guidelines recommend no more than 2,300 mg of sodium daily, with lower levels for patients at higher risk for heart problems.

When comparing imaging results from echocardiograms, researchers found that adults consuming more than 3,700 mg of sodium a day had larger hearts and poorer heart function than those consuming less sodium. This association existed after accounting for factors that could impact heart function, like age, sex, smoking status and alcohol use.

Recent studies have cast doubt on sodium guidelines after linking both low and high sodium levels to increased health risks. However, findings confirm that excess sodium consumption can put added stress on the heart, potentially increasing risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. 

Findings also highlight the need for Americans to significantly reduce sodium consumption to promote better health. The average American consumes more than 3,400 mg of sodium a day—similar to the excess levels of sodium consumption linked to poor heart function in this study. Thus, it’s important that Americans become more aware of how much sodium they consume and take steps to limit sodium to stay within current dietary guidelines to improve health.

American heart association approved recipe

Steamed Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

Servings  16  Serving Size   1 slice

  • Cooking spray
  • 6 cups  water
  • 1/2 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup  whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup  cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 large  egg whites
  • 1/4 cup of dark or light molasses

Directions

  1. Lightly spray a 9 x 5 x 3-inch ovenproof glass loaf pan with cooking spray. Place a metal rack with short legs, such as a pressure cooker rack, or three or four 12 x 6-inch sheets of aluminum foil crumpled into balls in the slow cooker.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the flours, cornmeal, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. Stir in the cranberries and walnuts. Make a well in the center.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, buttermilk, egg whites, and molasses. Pour into the well. Stir just until the flour mixture is moistened, but no flour is visible. Don’t overmix. Pour into the loaf pan, gently smoothing the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Secure with kitchen twine.
  5. Place the pan on the rack or crumpled foil in the slow cooker. Pour the boiling water down the side of the crock until the water reaches midway up the side of the pan. Cook, covered, on high for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Carefully transfer the pan to a cooling rack. Discard the foil. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto the cooling rack. Serve the bread warm.

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