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What is sodium chloride?

Sodium chloride (NaCl), also called salt, is used by our bodies to:

  • Absorb and transport nutrients
  • Maintain blood pressure
  • Maintain proper fluid balance
  • Transmit nerve signals
  • Contract and relax muscles

Salt is an inorganic compound, which means it does not come from living organisms. It is made by combining Na (sodium) and Cl (chloride) to form a white crystalline cube.

Your body needs salt to function, but too little or too much salt can be harmful to your health.

Although salt is often used in cooking, it can also be used as an ingredient in food or cleaning solutions. In medical situations, your doctor or nurse will usually inject sodium chloride. Read on to understand why and how salt plays an important role in your body.

What is the difference between salt and sodium?

Although many people use the words sodium and salt interchangeably, they are different. Sodium is a mineral and a naturally occurring nutrient. Unprocessed foods, such as fresh vegetables, beans, and fruits, naturally contain sodium. Baking soda also contains sodium.

However, about 75% to 90% of the sodium we consume comes from salt that has been added to our food. The weight of the salt is usually a combination of 40% sodium and 60% chloride.

How to use sodium chloride?

The most common use of salt is in food. Its uses include:

  • Seasoning
  • As a natural preservative
  • Enhance the natural color of food
  • Marinated or preserved meat
  • Create brine for pickling food

There are also various household uses, such as:

  • Clean pots and pans
  • Mildew proof
  • Remove stains and grease
  • Sprinkle salt on roads in winter to prevent freezing

When your doctor prescribes salt treatment, they will use the term sodium chloride. Sodium chloride is mixed with water to form a saline solution, which has many different medical uses.

Medical uses of saline solution include:

Nameuse
Intravenous dripTreat dehydration and electrolyte imbalance; can be mixed with sugar
Saline injectionFlush the catheter or intravenously after administration
Nasal irrigation or nose dropsClear nasal congestion, reduce post-nasal drip and keep nasal cavity moist
Clean the woundWash and rinse the area to get a clean environment
Eye dropsTreats redness, tearing and dry eyes
Sodium chloride inhalationHelp produce mucus so you can cough it up

It is important to consult a doctor and only use medical saline products as prescribed (not including over-the-counter products such as contact solutions). Different types of saline solutions will contain different ratios of sodium chloride and water. Salt water used for different purposes may also have additional chemicals or compounds added.

How much salt should you eat?

Although salt is different from sodium, salt is 40% sodium, and we get most of the sodium from salt. Many companies and restaurants use salt to preserve, flavor, and flavor their food. Since one teaspoon of salt contains approximately 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium, it is easy to exceed the daily intake.

According to the CDC, the average American eats more than 3,400 milligrams per day. You can limit your sodium intake by eating unprocessed foods. You may also find it easier to control sodium intake by cooking more at home.

The American Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

Low sodium diet

If you are at risk for high blood pressure or heart disease, your doctor may recommend that you stick to a low-sodium diet. If you have heart disease, you should try to consume less than 2,000 mg of sodium per day, although the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends keeping it below 1,500 mg. Eliminating processed foods such as sausages and ready-to-eat foods may make it easier to maintain this number.

What does your body use sodium chloride for?

Nutrient absorption and transportation

Sodium and chlorine play an important role in your small intestine. Sodium helps your body absorb:

  • chloride
  • Sugar
  • water
  • Amino acids (components of protein)

Chloride, when it is in the form of hydrochloric acid (hydrogen and chloride), is also a component of gastric juice. It can help your body digest and absorb nutrients.

Maintain resting energy

Sodium and potassium are electrolytes in the fluid inside and outside the cell. The balance between these particles helps your cells maintain the energy of your body.

This is also how nerves send signals to the brain, muscle contraction, and heart function.

Maintain blood pressure and water

Your kidneys, brain, and adrenal glands work together to regulate the amount of sodium in your body . Chemical signals stimulate the kidneys to retain water so that it can be reabsorbed into the blood or excrete excess water through urine.

When there is too much sodium in your blood, your brain sends a signal to your kidneys to release more water into your blood circulation. This leads to an increase in blood volume and blood pressure. Reducing sodium intake will result in less water absorbed into the blood. The result is a decrease in blood pressure.

In most cases, sodium chloride is not harmful to your health, but excessive amounts can irritate you:

  • Eye
  • skin
  • airway
  • Stomach

Depending on the area, you can treat irritation by flushing with water or breathing fresh air. If the irritation does not stop, seek medical help.

Too much salt

Although sodium is essential, it is also present in almost all foods we eat. Eating too much salt is related to the following factors:

  • hypertension
  • Increase the risk of heart disease and kidney disease
  • Increased water retention, which causes swelling of the body
  • Dehydration

Side effects of saline

The saline solution is usually administered intravenously or by intravenous administration. A high concentration of saline solution can cause redness or swelling at the injection site.

Too little sodium

Sodium deficiency is usually a sign of an underlying disease. The name of this condition is hyponatremia. This may be due to:

  • Inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (AD H), caused by diseases that affect hormone balance, certain drugs, and certain medical conditions
  • Excessive drinking
  • Long-term vomiting or diarrhea
  • Use some diuretics
  • Some kidney diseases

Excessive and persistent sweating without proper hydration is also a potential cause, especially for people who train and compete in long-distance endurance events such as marathons and triathlons.

Generalize

Approximately 75% to 90% of sodium intake comes from salt or sodium chloride. Salt provides essential minerals (sodium) that our body uses to maintain blood pressure and absorb nutrients. You can also use salt to flavor food, clean household items, and solve certain medical problems.

The American Dietary Guidelines recommend that you consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. You can do this by eating less processed foods (such as cold cuts and prepackaged foods) and cooking at home.

Too much salt can lead to greater health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease. Reducing salt intake while increasing potassium intake can help reduce the risk of these diseases.

You should consult your doctor before adding more sodium chloride to your diet. Most people exceed the recommended amount, but people who drink too much water, have persistent diarrhea, or participate in prolonged endurance activities may suffer from sodium deficiency. In these cases, a good oral rehydration solution may help. In more severe cases, healthcare professionals may need to provide intravenous (IV) saline solution to restore hydration and electrolytes.

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