Sodium is necessary to regulate the balance of fluids in your body. But water often builds up in the tissues of PAH patients. When this happens, the heart has to pump harder.
One of the best ways to manage your sodium level is to reduce the amount of salt in your diet. By cutting back on your salt intake, you reduce the amount of fluid in your tissues. This is important because, as a result, your heart does not have to work as hard to pump your blood.
Reduce your salt intake.
- Gradually decrease your salt intake—you will be less likely to miss the flavor
- Don’t add salt to the food you are preparing
- Substitute salt with other flavorings, such as lemon juice, peppers, garlic, fresh herbs, or potassium-containing salt alternatives
- Read labels! Prepared foods are often high in sodium
- Be sure your medicines (over-the-counter and prescription) are low in sodium
Follow these guidelines.
- Some physicians suggest that patients with PAH should follow American Heart Association guidelines for individuals with heart failure and limit their sodium intake to 2000 mg per day—about a teaspoon of salt
- Use these guidelines by the US Food and Drug Administration to determine how much sodium per serving is in prepared foods:
- Unsalted: no salt
- Sodium free: <5 mg
- Very low sodium: <35 mg
- Low sodium: <140 mg
- Healthy: <360 mg