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Blood Press. 2003;12(5-6):298-306.

Ethnic, geographic and dietary influences upon vasoactive hormones and blood pressure among Greenland Inuit and Danes.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Queen Ingrid's Hospital, Nuuk, Denmark.



To study levels of vasoactive hormones and urinary excretion of sodium and potassium between groups of Greenland Inuit and Danes, and to analyse the relationship between these hormones and 24-h blood pressure, including nightly blood pressure dips and pulse pressure.


145 Greenlandic participants were categorized in three groups according to degree of westernization, based on dietary habits and current place of residence; 41 Danes were included as controls. Twenty-four-hour blood pressure was measured. Venous plasma concentrations of vasoactive hormones were measured. Urine was collected for 24 hours for analysis of excretion of sodium and potassium.


The Inuit population of Greenland had a lower diastolic blood pressure, a higher pulse pressure and lower nocturnal blood pressure dip than Danes had. Angiotensin II in plasma and urine excretion of potassium were higher among Greenlanders compared with Danes, irrespective of diet and place of residence. Aldosterone and urine excretion of sodium were significantly higher among participants in Denmark compared with participants in Greenland. Brain natriuretic peptide and atrial natriuretic peptide were independently and negatively associated with diastolic blood pressure, and vasopressin was positively associated with systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure. Ethnic differences in the effect of vasoactive hormones or urinary sodium and potassium excretion could not explain the difference in blood pressure.


It is suggested that a high dietary intake of potassium and low sodium intake among Greenlanders may affect blood pressure. Further attention should be drawn to the occurrence of high pulse pressure and high activity in the renin-angiotensin system in Inuit populations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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