Research Article

Relation between arterial pressure, dietary sodium intake, and renin system in essential hypertension.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 283 doi: (Published 11 July 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;283:94
  1. P S Parfrey,
  2. N D Markandu,
  3. J E Roulston,
  4. B E Jones,
  5. J C Jones,
  6. G A MacGregor


    Forty-one patients with mild essential hypertension, 36 patients with severe hypertension, and 28 normotensive subjects were studied on a high sodium intake of 350 mmol/day for five days and low sodium intake of 10 mmol/day for five days. The fall in mean arterial pressure on changing from the high-sodium to the low-sodium diet was 0.7 +/- 1.7 mm Hg in normotensive subjects, 8 +/- 1.4 mm Hg in patients with mild hypertension, and 14.5 +/- 1.4 mm Hg in patients with severe hypertension. The fall in blood pressure was not correlated with age. Highly significant correlations were obtained for all subjects between the ratio of the fall in mean arterial pressure to the fall in urinary sodium excretion on changing from a high- to a low-sodium diet and (a) the level of supine blood pressure on normal diet, (b) the rise in plasma renin activity, and (c) the rise in plasma aldosterone. In patients with essential hypertension the blood pressure is sensitive to alterations in sodium intake. This may be partly due to some change either produced by or associated directly with the hypertension. A decreased responsiveness of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system shown in the patients with essential hypertension could partly account for the results.