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The Health Effects of High Sodium

August 10, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

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HealthyFamilies BC is committed to providing British Columbians with the information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices.

We recommend reduction of dietary sodium as a key factor in healthy eating to reduce the incidence of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.


Some recent scientific reports have raised questions about the role of sodium and population health.These recent studies demonstrate the need for ongoing research in this area but do not provide enough evidence to change current thinking and practice about limiting sodium intake.

Heart Health

About one-third of people are sensitive to sodium. Eating too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. Over time, high blood pressure can damage blood vessel walls. It can also strain the heart and eventually weaken it. High blood pressure is the leading preventable risk factor for death around the world. It is often called a "silent killer" because it has no warning signs or symptoms. You can't see it. You can't feel it. But the good news is that you can control it.

DID YOU KNOW? High blood pressure or hypertension affects 1 in 5 Canadians. It's the number one risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease.

Check Your Blood Pressure

Be sure to have your blood pressure checked every two years by your family doctor or other qualified health care provider. If you have high blood pressure, you can reduce it by lowering your sodium intake little by little each day.

Kidney Health

Eating a diet high in salt intake results in high blood pressure and can also cause kidney disease. As a result you are unable to rid your body of excess fluids and wastes. Over time loss of your kidney function means that you will need to restrict certain foods and possibly require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide

What you eat is important to your health. Lifelong healthy eating, including a diet low in sodium, can help you and your family stay healthy and feel your best. Follow Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide for more information about making healthy choices.

Fast Fact - 3 in 10 Canadians are diagnosed with high blood pressure from eating too much sodium.¹

¹ WHO World Health Report 2002, Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life

For More Information About heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation website.  


The information on the Healthy Eating pages of the HealthyFamilies BC website is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a physician or other qualified healthcare professional.
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Comments (1)

Mr.Zugzwang

Posted on Thursday March 19, 2015 a 7:11pm

Yes, unfortunatly I had to find out the hard way, that sodium has detrimental effects on heart rythmia, as i had suffered two minor heart attacks at 27 years of age. Two of the most frightening incidences of my life.

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