Salt has many important uses in the body, but excessive amounts of this chemical compound in the body can negatively affect its functions and overall health.

Your body requires no more then 2,000 mg of salt per day. If you happen to consume more than this amount, your normal body functions may be affected. It can also inhibit your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Here are some of the most popular health risks of high salt intake:

1. It can cause hypertension.

Hypertension is one of the most common consequences of high salt intake. It can lead to water retention which prompts the abnormal entry of water molecules into your blood vessels. This condition increases your blood volume and causes your blood pressure to rise and trigger strokes or heart attacks which can be life threatening.

You can reduce your blood pressure by as much as 25 percent by simply lowering your salt intake.

2. It can cause abnormal heart development.

Excessive consumption of salty foods can increase the volume of your blood because of the influx of water molecules into the bloodstream. This forces your heart to work much harder. If this happens regularly for a long time, it can cause your heart to become abnormally large. An enlarged heart is a sign or poor health and it can lead to heart failure or cardiac arrest. It is manifested by chest pains, breathlessness and chronic fatigue.

3. It can lead to osteoporosis.

High amounts of sodium in the body can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb and utilize calcium which is essential for bone health. Calcium deficiency can lead to the loss of bone mass and increased porosity of your bones.

4. It can cause kidney disorders.

Excess sodium and calcium are normally excreted by the body through urination. This can help to protect your body from the damaging effects of these unused substances, but it can increase the filtration load of your kidneys and raise your chances of developing kidney stones.

High blood pressure and increased blood volume can also negatively affect your kidneys.

5. It can cause dehydration and swelling.

High salt intake can trigger thirst and craving for water. This is because the presence of excess sodium in your blood takes water out from your cells and into your tissues. The water-deprived cells send signals to your brain for more water.

On the other hand, the water that goes to your tissues make you look bloated. This is usually manifested in the lower parts of your body like your legs and feet. One of the most effective ways to prevent water retention is by reducing your salt intake.

6. It can trigger acid reflux and heart burn.

Sodium plays an important role in the regulation of the balance of acid and base in the body. Too much salt intake can trigger acid reflux. Overtime, it can lead to the damage of your upper digestive tract.

7. It can cause electrolyte and hormone imbalance.

The balance of electrolytes and hormones in your body plays an important role in making your nervous system work normally. Too much salt intake can impair your nerve impulses and sensory functions. These conditions are manifested by dizziness, shakiness, disorientation, or other depressive symptoms.

These are some of the most common health risks of excessive salt intake. Avoid it to keep you free from its negative consequences.