|How Much Water Does Salt Retain in Your Body?|
by Jonathan Rich, D.O.
Sodium is important. It regulates your body's volume (or water level) by osmosis. When salt enters a vessel or goes through a membrane, water follows.
Your kidneys help get rid of extra salt or water in your urine. The heart is important in this process as well. It provides circulation to the kidneys so they can function properly.
Of those who have high blood pressure, about half are salt-sensitive. Elderly people, African-Americans and diabetics may be more prone to it. The only way to know for sure if you are is to limit salt (with your health-care provider's direction) and see if the blood pressure decreases.
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Other things can cause bloating, such as hormones. And swelling in your legs could indicate that your heart isn't pumping blood efficiently away from them (because of a weak heart muscle or malfunctioning pacemaker function, for example).
The bottom line for people who are salt-sensitive: Make sure you're under a health-care provider's watch, who will likely tell you to moderate your salt intake.