heart health your way

heart disease and stroke

Each year, heart disease accounts for more than 15,000 deaths in Missouri making it the leading cause of death in the state. The term heart disease includes several more specific heart conditions. The most common heart disease in the U.S. is coronary heart which occurs when the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart, become hardened and narrowed due to buildup of plaque. Plaque may also rupture and cause blood clots that block arteries. Coronary heart disease can lead to a heart attack.

high blood pressure logo

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the major risk factors for heart disease – the number-one killer in Missouri. High blood pressure is also the number one risk factor for stroke – the third most common cause of death nationwide and the leading cause of disability in the state.

It is estimated that one in three adults has high blood pressure, but many do not know they have it. High blood pressure is sometimes called a “silent killer” because it usually has no symptoms until serious problems develop. However, the condition is easily detected and can usually be controlled.

Maintaining a normal blood pressure level can reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

About Sodium and Health

  • Your body needs a small amount of sodium to work properly, but too much sodium is bad for your health.
  • While sodium has many forms, most sodium we consume is from salt.
  • Most Americans consume too much sodium.
  • Most sodium comes from processed and restaurant foods.

Health risks

A woman reading the nutrition label on a package in a grocery store.

Eating too much sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for heart disease and stroke. Together, heart disease and stroke kill more Americans each year than any other cause.

Most people eat too much sodium

Your body needs a small amount of sodium to work properly, but too much sodium is bad for your health. Americans consume more than 3,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day, on average. This is well above the federal recommendation of less than 2,300 mg of sodium daily for teens and adults as part of a healthy eating pattern.

Sodium in everyday foods adds up

Sodium is found in foods from almost all food categories. Some of the top sources of sodium for U.S. adults and children ages 1 and older include:

  • Sandwiches.
  • Rice, pasta, and other grain-based dishes.
  • Starchy and non-starchy vegetables.
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood dishes.
  • Pizza.
  • Soups.
  • Chips, crackers, and savory snacks.
  • Desserts and sweet snacks.
  • Condiments and gravies.
  • Cold cuts and cured meats.
  • Breads and tortillas.

Source: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025

Sodium or salt?

Salt and sodium are not the same. Salt is sodium chloride which is table salt. Sodium chloride is 40% sodium and 60% chloride. One teaspoon of table salt contains about 2,400 mg of sodium.

Sodium is a mineral found in many ingredients in common foods:

  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).
  • Sodium nitrate (a preservative).