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DR. MARYAM SHARIF-HASSANABADI treats patients at Marshall Medical's Cameron Park campus. Known by her patients as Dr. Sharif, she specializes in nephropathy, internal medicine for kidney disease and damage. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

Healthy Trends 2014

Marshall’s new nephrologist advocates for sodium intake awareness

By From page HT4 | January 24, 2014

Marshall Medical Center is continuously seeking to add new medical offerings to the community, bringing needed expertise closer to home.

Maryam Sharif-Hassanabadi, MD, recently joined Marshall Family & Internal Medicine in Cameron Park as a board certified internist and nephrologist (kidney related care). She sees routine internal medicine patients but also welcomes patients with kidney problems to her practice. She’s excited to be part of the community and bring her strong passion for health and communication to her patients. She is known as Dr. Sharif.

Nephrology is a subspecialty of internal medicine, which treats kidney disease.

“As a nephrologist, I manage some pretty complex problems people have, including difficult high blood pressure, kidney stones, all stages of chronic kidney disease, and electrolyte disorders such as potassium and sodium imbalance,” Dr. Sharif said. “I also am able to manage significant kidney diseases such as glomerulonephritis, vasculitis and polycystic kidney disease, just to name a few.” She is currently working towards being able to provide dialysis related care as well.

Dr. Sharif has a strong interest in communicating with and educating her patients about the importance of kidney health, and sodium (salt) is a major culprit in many conditions.

“Sodium intake plays an important role in many different diseases,” Dr. Sharif said. “From kidney disease and high blood pressure, to congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease, too much sodium in our diets is extremely harmful.”

Dr. Sharif said that just switching to a lower sodium diet has a similar effect as taking a low dose blood pressure medication. “Reducing sodium also helps prevent water retention and swelling. We know that salt restriction has a cardiovascular benefit as well, and it also protects against calcium stones and the development of osteoporosis later in life,” she said.

As we all know, salt, like sugar, is everywhere in our food. “You really have to watch labels and be mindful of what you are eating and drinking,” said Dr. Sharif. “All the packaged and processed foods, not to mention restaurant meals, are very high in sodium. Everything from canned and pickled foods, to snacks, cheese, condiments, dressings, sauces and even bread, cereal and soda has a lot of sodium.”

Considering the most recent sodium intake guidelines, recommending adults in general consume 2.3 grams or less of sodium per day, most people are getting too much.

“People with known high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, elderly people and African Americans have an even lower recommendation of as low as 1.5 grams per day,” Dr. Sharif said.

In addition, some medications have the same effect on the body as a high salt diet, including commonly used “NSAIDs” (non-Steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Ibuprofen (Advil), Naproxen (Aleve), Diclofenac and Aspirin, including others. NSAIDs contribute to high blood pressure, water retention, edema (swelling) and even acute kidney disease. Dr. Sharif recommends that people who have been instructed to restrict sodium intake also avoid NSAIDs.

“You can see, with all the processed foods people eat and over the counter pain medication they take, it can be difficult to understand just how much sodium we are absorbing,” Dr. Sharif said. “When I talk with my patients I emphasize the importance of being aware of sodium intake, because it can be extremely harmful and make difficult-to-treat conditions that much harder. I also encourage people to reduce processed and packaged foods and move toward a whole food, plant-heavy diet, which is just healthier overall for everybody.”

Dr. Sharif is located at Marshall Family & Internal Medicine in Cameron Park, 3581 Palmer Drive, Suite 602, 530-672-7000. She is currently accepting both internal medicine patients and, with a physician referral, nephrology patients.

Marshall Medical

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