Sodium and High Blood Pressure
British Columbia Specific Information
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can damage your blood vessels, heart and kidneys. This damage can cause a heart attack, stroke or other health problems. Your blood pressure reading is based on two measurements called systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number) written as a ratio, for example (120/80 mmHg). Generally if your blood pressure is more than 140/90 mmHg when measured in your healthcare provider’s office, it may be high blood pressure. This figure is different for the very elderly (more than 80 years old) whose blood pressure should be below 150/90 mmHg, and for people with diabetes whose blood pressure should be below 130/80 mmHg. People suffering from other illnesses will have different target normal values. For more information on hypertension, visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation and Hypertension Canada.
Making healthy lifestyle choices can help lower your blood pressure and improve your health. For information on healthy eating for lowering your blood pressure, see HealthLink BC File #68b Lifestyle Steps to Lower Your Blood Pressure, our Heart Health resources, or visit Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide.
You may also call 8-1-1 to speak to a registered dietitian, Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or you can Email a HealthLinkBC Dietitian.
Reducing sodium in the diet can prevent high blood pressure in those at risk for the disease and can help control high blood pressure. Limiting sodium is part of a heart-healthy eating plan that can help prevent heart disease and stroke.
Most people with high blood pressure shouldn't eat more than 2,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day.footnote 1
To learn more, see:
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
- Dasgupta, K, et al. (2014). 2014 Canadian Hypertension Education Program recommendations for blood pressure measurement, diagnosis, assessment of risk, prevention, and treatment of hypertension. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 30: 485–501. http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/0828-282X/PIIS0828282X14000701.pdf. Accessed June 17, 2014.
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015
Current as of: February 20, 2015
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.