Your Blood Pressure Is Rising
You May Need More: Potassium “Having too little potassium in your diet magnifies the toxic effects of excessive salt intake,” Dr. Fruge says. Most processed foods have added sodium but no extra potassium, so if your meals come from boxes, you’re likely at risk. Worsening the situation, when your kidneys try to flush out the salt, you lose even more potassium. “The imbalance damages blood vessels, driving up blood pressure,” Dr. Fruge notes. “Eating better can correct the problem—I’ve seen people drop thirty points in three days.”
How Your Doctor Knows: A review of your diet reveals all your GP needs to know. If there’s any doubt, he can evaluate your cardiovascular function with blood tests to check blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and kidney function, along with stress tests, body-fat measurements, and ultrasounds of your heart and arteries.
Food Fix: Cut your sodium consumption to no more than 1,500 mg per day, and eat seven to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
Supplement Solution: Potassium supplements can lead to arrhythmia or other cardiac problems, says Danine Fruge, MD. Stick with produce to avoid those side effects.