Can you die from eating too much salt?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “can you die from eating too much salt?” With an in-depth analysis of can, do we die from eating too much salt?. Moreover, we will also discuss how a person can die from eating too much salt.

Can you die from eating too much salt?

Yes, eating too much salt can have a range of effects. It may cause bloating, severe thirst, and a temporary rise in blood pressure. In severe cases, it may also lead to hypernatremia, which, if left untreated, can be fatal.

What are the effects of eating too much salt?

Short term effects:

In the short term, it may cause bloating, severe thirst, and a temporary rise in blood pressure. In severe cases, it may also lead to hypernatremia, which, if left untreated, can be fatal. 

  • Water retention

First, you may notice that you feel more bloated or puffy than usual. This happens because your kidneys wish to maintain a specific sodium-to-water ratio in your body. To do so, they hold on to extra water to compensate for the extra sodium you ate.

This increased water retention may result in swelling, especially in the hands and feet, and can cause you to weigh more than usual.

  • A rise in blood pressure

A salt-rich meal can also cause a larger blood volume to flow through your blood vessels and arteries. This may result in a temporary rise in blood pressure. That being said, not everyone may experience these effects. For instance, research suggests that people who are salt resistant may not experience a rise in blood pressure after salt-rich meals.

These variables may explain why salt-rich diets don’t automatically result in a rise in blood pressure for everyone.

  • Intense thirst

Eating a salty meal can also cause you to have a dry mouth or feel very thirsty. Encouraging you to drink is another way in which your body tries to correct the sodium-to-water ratio 

The resulting increase in fluid intake can cause you to urinate more than usual. On the other hand, failing to consume fluids after eating high amounts of salt may cause your body’s sodium levels to rise above a safe level, resulting in a condition known as hypernatremia. 

  • Hypernatremia:

Hypernatremia can cause water to leach out of your cells and into your blood, in an attempt to dilute the excess sodium. If left untreated, this fluid shift can result in confusion, seizures, coma, and even death 

Other symptoms of hypernatremia include restlessness, breathing and sleeping difficulties, and decreased urination.

Long term effects:

In the long term, high salt diets may cause a rise in blood pressure and increase the risk of stomach cancer, heart disease, and premature death. 

  • Salt may increase stomach cancer risk

Several studies link a high salt diet to a higher risk of stomach cancer.

A review including more than 268,000 participants suggests that those with median salt intakes of 3 grams per day may have up to a 68% higher risk of stomach cancer than those with median salt intakes of 1 gram per day 

Another study further suggests that people with high salt intakes may have a two times higher risk of stomach cancer than those with lower intakes. Still, this study doesn’t clearly define what is considered high or low salt intake. 

The mechanism behind salt’s effect on stomach cancer isn’t fully understood. However, experts believe that salt-rich diets may make a person more vulnerable to stomach cancer by causing ulcers or inflammation of the stomach lining.

  • Salt may raise blood pressure

Research suggests that salt-rich diets significantly increase blood pressure and that lowering the salt content of a person’s diet can help lower their blood pressure levels

For instance, two large reviews report that a reduction in salt intake of 4.4 grams per day may lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure by up to 4.18 mm Hg and 2.06 mm Hg respectively.

However, the observed reductions were close to two times larger in individuals with high blood pressure, compared with those with blood pressure in the normal range.

Moreover, these effects are thought to be significantly stronger in salt-sensitive individuals than in those who are not salt-sensitive.

  • Effect on risks of heart disease and premature death

The link between salt-rich diets, heart disease, and premature death is still somewhat 

controversial.

Some studies suggest that high salt intakes cause a rise in blood pressure and a stiffening of blood vessels and arteries. In turn, these changes may result in a higher risk of heart disease and premature death

For instance, one 20-year study notes that participants who consumed less than 5.8 grams of salt per day had the lowest mortality rates, while those who consumed more than 15 grams of salt per day had the highest mortality rates.

However, others suggest that high salt diets have no effects on heart health or longevity and that low salt diets may increase the risk of heart disease and death.

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we have answered the question “can you die from eating too much salt?” With an in-depth analysis of can, do we die from eating too much salt?. Moreover, we have also discussed how a person can die from eating too much salt.

Citations:

https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-too-much-salt
https://www.ndtv.com/health/consuming-too-much-salt-could-be-harmful-6-signs-that-you-are-consuming-too-much-salt-1873365

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.