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J Hum Hypertens. 2012 May;26(5):315-24. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2011.39. Epub 2011 May 19.

Patterns of sodium and potassium excretion and blood pressure in the African Diaspora.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, IL 60153, USA.


Habitual levels of dietary sodium and potassium are correlated with age-related increases in blood pressure (BP) and likely have a role in this phenomenon. Although extensive published evidence exists from randomized trials, relatively few large-scale community surveys with multiple 24-h urine collections have been reported. We obtained three 24-h samples from 2704 individuals from Nigeria, Jamaica and the United States to evaluate patterns of intake and within-person relationships with BP. The average (±s.d.) age and weight of the participants across all the three sites were 39.9±8.6 years and 76.1±21.2 kg, respectively, and 55% of the total participants were females. Sodium excretion increased across the East-West gradient (for example, 123.9±54.6, 134.1±48.8, 176.6±71.0 (±s.d.) mmol, Nigeria, Jamaica and US, respectively), whereas potassium was essentially unchanged (for example, 46.3±22.9, 40.7±16.1, 44.7±16.4 (±s.d.) mmol, respectively). In multivariate analyses both sodium (positively) and potassium (negatively) were strongly correlated with BP (P<0.001); quantitatively the association was stronger, and more consistent in each site individually, for potassium. The within-population day-to-day variation was also greater for sodium than for potassium. Among each population group, a significant correlation was observed between sodium and urine volume, supporting the prior finding of sodium as a determinant of fluid intake in free-living individuals. These data confirm the consistency with the possible role of dietary electrolytes as hypertension risk factors, reinforcing the relevance of potassium in these populations.

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