The term cardio-vascular refers to the blood vessels (arteries, capillaries, veins) and heart function. Arteries are much like the roots/stems on a beautiful rosebush; the heart would be the joyful rose. The arteries provide nourishment (food & oxygen) to the heart.
Stiff arteries tend to develop little tears, and scratches stimulating a cascade of inflammatory cellular activity to patch the damaged tissue. This cellular type patching changes the structure and stiffens the middle layer of the artery and contributes to plaque buildup on the inner layer of the artery. This cellular buildup contributes to stiffer arteries and higher blood pressure. Stiff arteries do not pause (or pulse) which requires more work, more non-stop work from the heart. The efficiency of the heart as a pump then eventually wears out leading to heart failure in advanced years.
High sodium intake also increase blood volume; the heart then has to work harder to push/pump thicker blood. For example, it is easier to blow thin cranberry juice through a straw than thick ketchup. When the heart is consistently working in overdrive to pump thick blood to body tissues/organs the efficiency of the heart as a pump wears out; leading to heart failure in advanced years.
Just a brief, more in depth explanation of how high sodium lessens arterial function and changes artery structure. Besides altering blood pressure, salt exposure triggers structural and functional pressure independent changes in the vascular wall. These pressure independent changes are caused by abnormal endothelial function (protective cells that line the artery), increased smooth muscle tone, intimal medial thickening, and increased collagen, fibronectin, hyaluronic acid and collagen cross-link formation. Wow, there is a lot of activity going on in the artery.
The cells of the body renew constantly. The health of the arteries can also be renewed and nurtured. Beginning a low salt, potassium rich diet today, nurtures and comforts arterial health (blood pressure) today. Low salt meal planning, with more homemade food, less pre-made or store prepared food is also very economical. Blending omega 3 foods, such as walnuts, albacore tuna, and salmon with lots of colorful, vibrant, Ph balancing vegetables like peppers zucchini and red beets brings beauty, creativity and tranquility into the kitchen.
Maintaining healthy blood pressure can be achieved through a variety of options that include dietary modification, hushing sympathetic stimulation, dietary & herbal supplements, prescription medications and exercise.
A low salt, high potassium diet, soy isoflavones (a cup of soy milk after Tai Chi) and stress management activities that hush sympathetic over activity will work in synergy to nurture and relax the arteries.
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DISCLAIMER The content presented in this website is not intended as or should be construed as medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare practitioner for individual medical recommendations.