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J Hypertens. 1991 Apr;9(4):329-35.

Salt sensitivity in young normotensive subjects is associated with a hyperinsulinemic response to oral glucose.

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Department of General Internal Medicine and Nephrology, Universitätsklinikum Steglitz, Free University of Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany.


Insulin resistance associated with a hyperinsulinemic response to oral glucose intake has been found in patients with essential hypertension and is believed to play a role in inducing hypertension by causing renal sodium and water retention. We therefore examined whether salt-sensitive, young normotensives, assumed to be predisposed to essential hypertension, exhibit impaired glucose tolerance in a similar way. The plasma insulin and glucose response to oral glucose intake (75 g) was assessed in 23 healthy, lean, male volunteers ingesting either 20 mmol or 260 mmol NaCl/day for 6 days each in a single-blind randomized crossover study. Salt sensitivity was defined as a significant drop in mean arterial blood pressure greater than 3 mmHg (means of 30 readings in the supine subject; P less than 0.05) under the low-salt diet. Following the glucose load, plasma levels of both glucose and insulin were significantly higher (P less than 0.01) in the salt-sensitive (n = 10) compared with the salt-resistant subjects (n = 13) during the high-salt diet but not during the low-salt diet. Whereas in the salt-sensitive group glucose tolerance improved with dietary salt restriction (P less than 0.01), it deteriorated in the salt-resistant group (P less than 0.05). Following the glucose load under the high-salt diet, there was a significant drop in blood pressure in the salt-sensitive (P less than 0.005) but not the salt-resistant subjects. The hyperglycemic and hyperinsulinemic response in salt-sensitive subjects suggests that insulin resistance is present in these subjects prior to the development of hypertension and that it can be ameliorated by salt restriction.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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