Category: Health

Problem Statement

Salt is an important chemical component in animal diets. It gives taste to foods. Thus, it enhances the realizing of taste in several foods. However, its major function is to help regulate the content and the amount of liquids in the body (Burgess 2001). It facilitates the maintenance of an appropriate quantity of water in the body. The sodium ion content in the compound also acts to make the electrical signals in the nervous system active.

From the introduction, it is evident that this compound is of importance to the body of any animal. However, excessive consumption of salt has its side effects, both long term and short term. Theses effects are sometimes severe, if not detected early enough. They can lead to death and long-term suffering. Only appropriate quantities should be consumed, lest the adverse side effects and statistics take their toll. Thus, a major hypothesis is that excessive salt consumption is harmful to health. In order to ascertain this, a research is conducted that entails studying the health of crustaceans Daphnia magna Straus upon being fed with food containing different quantities of salt. The study would be critical in highlighting the harmful effects of consuming excessive quantities of the compound.

Relevance of the Testable Question

While the majority of citizens and the general public know something about the consumption of salt,  it is not until recently that a series of events sparked by alarming data released by medical institutions drew a great deal of attention to this not so widely discussed topic (Beard 2009). In general terms, salt consumption is viewed as a necessity. However, consuming large amounts of salt may harm consumers’ health. Thus, the question is put into consideration: has excessive salt consumption a negative effect on the consumers’ health? The testable question is significant in the study of the effects salt consumption has on animals. Hence, the question is critical in health circles, as it borders on issues that affect healthcare. Governmental and non-governmental healthcare providers would also find this question useful.

Literature Review

High intake of salt has been blamed for causing swelling and water retention in the body (Burgess 2001). When there are big quantities of salt in the body, the kidney is under so much pressure to maintain the electrolyte solution (Burgess 2001). This leads to overworking of the kidneys, an aspect that exposes them to failure. Hence, they cannot effectively perform the duty of regulating the amount of water in the body. Since the kidneys cannot cope with the high levels of salt, they become unable to draw the water in the body as fast as needed. This, therefore, leaves much water in the body, causing water retention and swelling, resulting this way in health risk.

Too much salt is also said to cause high blood pressure in the body (Beard 2009). High levels of salt may cause an increase in the force of blood moving through the body. The heart is therefore required to have the energy to perform this extraneous exercise. The body is also under much pressure to get an adequate supply of oxygen in order to pump the blood to the various organs of the body. This is a major health risk, as it poses a great danger upon the victims’ lives.

Excessive consumption of salt content undoubtedly leads to heart diseases (Withrow 2001). Due to the hypertension, the heart has to work extremely hard in order to satisfy the body’s needs for an adequate supply of blood. Blood carries all the necessary nutrients required by the body. Where the heart fails to meet such a vital demand, oxygen, which is another vital component, is not availed to the body organs. This can lead to immediate death of an affected animal. Therefore, this presents a dire situation for the health of an organism (Burgess 2001). Moreover, in this case the heart is burdened with the duty of supplying blood to the rest of the body. This makes the heart develop complications due to heavy demands. Where the pressure on it is too high, coupled with poor attention to the condition, the heart is likely to have even more serious complications. Given the significance the heart has as an organ of the body, any of such ailments require urgent care and treatment, lest the victim loses its life. This is because the unhealthy heart does not perform its duties,  thus leading to the loss of life (Smithers 2008). The above takes place because the body can no longer meet its needs, as blood is not sufficiently supplied to the necessary organs to facilitate an appropriate body functioning.

A stroke is among the diseases caused by the consumption of excessive salt content (Taylor 2010). Where the body of an individual suffers from hypertension, there is a huge demand for oxygen in the body. This demand leads to failure of the body to contain excessive fat deposits along the arteries. These deposits of cholesterol block the arteries which carry blood to various parts of the body. This worsens the state of the body by hindering the flow of blood it requires (Taylor, 2010). Where the arteries are blocked, bursting is possible. This condition is referred to as a stroke. It may lead to death if not attended to appropriately. This, therefore, calls for caution in the amounts of salt content in any foods consumed. This would allow for the control of any disease that may be caused by the excessive use of salt and thus afford to apply control measures early enough. This would save money and afford good health, which is necessary for humans to go about their duties.

In acute effects, too much or too little salt in the body leads to swelling, high blood pressure, heart diseases, and muscle cramps (Taylor 2010). It can also lead to dizziness or electrolyte disturbances, which may cause a situation known as neurological condition. This condition is deemed dangerous, as it may cause death. Drinking too much water without sufficient salt content leads to water intoxication. Confusing salt with sugar leads to instant death, if consumed in excess (when it reaches a level of one gram per kilogram of body weight). Emergence of these health problems would adversely affect one’s way of life. It may curtail the activities one is engaged in as he or she goes about his/her daily chores in order to earn a living thereby underlying the importance of maintaining a good health. Therefore, this shows that only appropriate quantities of salt are beneficial to the body without causing any harmful effects on health. A balance must, therefore, be reached to equip the body with the necessary minerals for its efficient functioning and to realize that excessive or unavailable amounts of salt would present challenges for one’s health. The aim should be to have amounts of the salt content that would guarantee health and proper functioning of the body.

As the discussion above reveals, it is important to consume salt, but only within the reasonable amounts, as directed by health experts. In case of excessive use, the consequences are dire (Zacharias 2000). Therefore, the content of salt in the bodies of animals is vital, but it must be regulated to ensure it remains within the limits that do not threaten the health of the users. Where it is consumed as advised by the medical fraternity, good health is guaranteed to consumers. Where the experts’ advice is ignored and excessive amounts consumed, the health hazards call for immediate attention or else lead to both short-term and long-term suffering. The use of salt must therefore be in respect to the need for healthy living through consumption of the correct amounts as guided by the doctors. Apart from the negative effect associated with overuse, salt is an important component that is necessary for the well-functioning of the human body.

Experimental Design

Conducting an experimental research is critical in knowledge creation. The following steps are used in the research process. The first step entails conducting a review of existing literature on the topic. The literature review facilitates an understanding of what other scholars have done regarding the topic. This improves familiarity. In the current study, a broad path is taken in examining the topic.

In the second stage, a researcher defines the objectives of the study. This step requires that a researcher is specific regarding what is being studied. In line with the second step, a hypothesis being reviewed is that excessive consumption is harmful to health of animals. The hypothesis must be clear, so that it can be tested. In addition, the hypothesis should be adequate in the explanation of the phenomenon under study. Other issues border on the ability to facilitate further research. More importantly, the hypothesis must remain simple.

In the third stage, a population, on which the research is carried out, is specified. In the current research, the population consists of crustaceans Daphnia magna Straus. In the subsequent step, an evaluation of the probability of testing the hypothesis is considered. The researcher must be certain that the experiment is adequate, to facilitate testing of the hypothesis.

For this study, I selected 200 crustaceans Daphnia magna Straus from the pet store. The crustaceans are placed into groups. The first group is the control group while the second is the experimental group. The experimental group is fed with food that has excessive amount salt, while the control group is fed with food that has the approved levels of salt. The study takes a period of six weeks in order to facilitate the differences that emerge in the health of the crustaceans.

The steps of the procedure are the following: preparation for sampling, preparation of aquariums for the crustaceans, finding the relevant food, carrying out the experiment directly, analysis and examination of findings, preparing the report, presentation of study findings, and recommendations to stakeholders.

The reasons of taking these steps are based on the tenets of scientific discourse. The experimental design is crucial in determining the differences in health that emerge after consuming salt. In collecting the data, the state of the crustaceans in regards to survival rate, structure of viscus, and the ability to restoration is recorded before the experiment. Then after six weeks, data on the same variables is collected before a comparison is done. Tools used differ depending on the variable being measured. For instance, survival rate is viewed using the observation approach. On the other hand, the structure of viscus and the ability to restoration are taken using the special laboratory equipment. In order to undertake the successful analysis of the viscus of crustaceans, the following instruments are needed: chemical reactants, slides, cover glasses, Petri dish, clock glasses, tweezers of the different sizes, dissecting needles, glass pipette, rubber gloves, binocular microscope, loop, illuminator for binocular, light microscope, eyepiece micrometer for microscope, and stage micrometer.

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Dependent, Independent, and Controlled Variables

The dependent variables under review include survival rate, structure of viscus, and ability to restoration. They are classified as dependent since they depend on the levels of consumption of salt. Thus, the independent variable is the level of salt that is consumed. In a way, the dependent variable can also be viewed as the controlled variable. In this case, the specific controlled variable is the normal level of salt.

Threat Reduction to Internal Validity

There is no absolute clarity regarding the occurrence of variables. Such ambiguity may lead to confusion of cause and effect. This threat is known as ambiguous temporal precedence. Another threat to validity is confounding. This is a threat to causal inference. To be specific, changes in the dependent variable could be attributed to variations in a third variable that is associated with the manipulated variable. Such spurious associations may undermine hypothetical statements. To reduce threats to internal validity, I will determine the temporal precedence before the experiment. I will do this based on a review of previous literature. Secondly, the use of a control experiment would help in mitigating the chances of spuriousness in the research.

Hypothesis

The study hypothesis is: excessive consumption of salt negatively affects the health of invertebrates. After reviewing relevant literature, it is clear that consuming food containing more salt than recommended is harmful. Thus, the literature review shapes the development of the hypothesis. In practice, it is hypothesized that consuming large amounts of any substance is unhealthy. Thus, common sense also plays a role in coming up with the hypothesis.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is evident that crustaceans Daphnia magna Straus that were fed with food containing high levels of salt reflected a bigger tendency towards unhealthiness. This is because the crustaceans are fed with higher levels develop more swellings. In addition, they register a bigger decrease in ability to restoration. Thus, the hypothesis that consumption of high levels of salt is harmful is confirmed. The best way to validate the results of the experiment is replicating the study in order to ascertain the findings.

The experimental design is the key factor in the success of a scientific inquiry because every research can be carried out only in conformity to a well projected plan. The researcher is obliged to perform the stages of the work consecutively and to follow the instructions prescribed in the experimental design. In case of non-performance of the plan the scientist can get the questionable results and make a wrong conclusion.

The conducted investigation can be replicated in accordance with previously mentioned objects and purposes by means of using relevant tools and techniques. In order to acquire the accurate results, the subject of inquiry should be placed in conditions close to the natural. The scientist is obliged to have all mentioned apparatuses and choose the exact kind of crustacean. The Daphnia magna Straus is the conventional test organism in water toxicology. The research should be carried out within the certain temporary framework. In  case there is a need to dissect the subject of inquiry, it can be carried out only by a specially trained scientist.

To conform the validity of the experiment, its replication may be carried out. Each scientist can face the problem of getting the wrong results. Even when all issues are taken into account, the sequence can be affected by unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, it seems appropriate to repeat the research. Getting the same results from several inquiries reduce the probability of influence of unexpected factors. 

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