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Nat Clin Pract Cardiovasc Med. 2004 Nov;1(1):24-30.

The role of sodium in hypertension is more complex than simply elevating arterial pressure.

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  • 1Oschner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, LA 70121, USA.


Excessive salt intake exacerbates hypertension and further increases left-ventricular mass in clinical essential and experimental hypertension. Additionally, a growing body of evidence strongly suggests that high dietary salt loading exerts detrimental cardiac effects independently of its hemodynamic load. The clinical evidence of cardiac structural and functional alterations associated with salt is, however, scarce. In order to explore the purported beliefs in humans, in this review we draw on our experimental studies in naturally occurring hypertension and discuss the clinical implications of the nonhemodynamic mechanisms underlying these salt-related changes.

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