What happens after too much salt consumption? Common signs that should not be ignored

Too much salt consumption is bad. (Image via Pexels/ Lorena Martinez)
Too much salt consumption is bad. (Image via Pexels/ Lorena Martinez)

Salt is an essential ingredient is most savory dishes but too much salt consumption can have negative health impacts. Salt, or sodium, is necessary for the human body to function properly. It manages fluid levels like the total blood volume, which in turn affects blood pressure. It also regulates the electrolytes that the brain uses to send electrical messages to the muscles and neurons.

In addition to lowering sunstroke risk and stimulating the adrenal glands, salt also keeps other vital minerals in the blood. For these vital processes to occur on a daily basis, very little salt is required. About 2,400 mg of salt (sodium chloride) is the recommended daily amount for an average adult. This is roughly equal to one teaspoon of typical table salt.

Too much salt consumption can lead to health problems such as swollen hands and face.


Short-term effects of too much salt consumption

Excess consumption of salt can cause bloating. (Image via Pexels/ Monicore)
Excess consumption of salt can cause bloating. (Image via Pexels/ Monicore)

The short-term effects of taking large amounts of salt become apparent soon after.

Bloated hands and feet or a bloated face are common short-term side effects of too much salt consumption. After a salty meal, some people experience extreme thirst or bloating due to water retention.

The effects are usually transient; the body excretes the extra sodium and returns to a less bloated state after consuming multiple glasses of water and purposefully consuming less sodium in future meals.


Long-term effects of too much salt consumption

High salt consumption can increase blood pressure. (Image via Pexels/ Castorly Stock)
High salt consumption can increase blood pressure. (Image via Pexels/ Castorly Stock)

Long-term consumption of large amounts of salt can lead to more severe adverse consequences.

The kidneys' capacity to eliminate water is diminished by the elevated sodium levels in the blood, leading to an increase in the total volume of blood and strain on the body's blood vessels. Strokes and congestive heart failure can eventually result from high blood pressure. Kidney illness can arise from the kidneys' continuous effort to eliminate excess salt.

Long-term overconsumption of salt can also result in fluid accumulation in the body's cavities and tissues. A diet heavy in sodium may also result in the body excreting small amounts of calcium, which over time might develop osteoporosis.


Ways to avoid too much salt consumption

Consume salt in moderation. (Image via Pexels/ Kaboompics)
Consume salt in moderation. (Image via Pexels/ Kaboompics)

Eating more fresh whole foods, staying away from salt shakers, and cutting back on eating out and prepackaged foods are some ways to achieve this. Additionally, if you do use canned beans and veggies—let's be honest, there is a convenience aspect involved here—select low-sodium or salt-free options. Some of the sodium can also be eliminated by rinsing them in a colander under cool, running water.


Although salt is a necessary component of our diet, we must be careful with how much we eat. The effects of too much salt consumption are frequently mild and may go undiscovered until they cause more significant health problems.

In the long run, we can protect our health and well-being by being aware of typical symptoms and consuming salt in moderation. For individualized advice and direction, it's best to speak with a healthcare provider about any health issue.

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