The role of sodium in the pathogenesis of hypertension is not agreed. It is likely that excess dietary sodium or excessive retention of sodium is capable of raising blood pressure in some circumstances in man. In Conn’s syndrome, for example, the body content of sodium is abnormally increased, the increase is positively related to arterial pressure1, and both abnormalities are corrected by surgical removal of the causative tumour1. It is also well recognized that increased dietary sodium can raise blood pressure in patients with chronic renal failure2. However, in essential hypertension the role of sodium is much less certain. Although blood pressure and dietary sodium are higher and essential hypertension is commoner in ‘civilized’ than in primitive societies, within a civilized society the essential hypertensives do not, as a rule, eat or excrete more sodium than normal individuals . Nor do patients with essential hypertension have an excess of body sodium and yet amongst such patients arterial pressure and body sodium are positively related, while normal subjects show no correlation of arterial pressure and body sodium4,5 (Figure 1).
KeywordsArterial Pressure Essential Hypertension Dietary Sodium Exchangeable Sodium Raise Blood Pressure
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