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Semin Nephrol. 2013 May;33(3):277-89. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2013.04.008.

Potassium in hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

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Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, University of Miami, Renal and Hypertension Section, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, FL 33125-1624, USA.


The increased prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in industrialized societies undoubtedly is associated with the modern high-sodium/low-potassium diet. Extensive experimental and clinical data strongly link potassium intake to cardiovascular outcome. Most studies suggest that the sodium-to-potassium intake ratio is a better predictor of cardiovascular outcome than either nutrient individually. A high-sodium/low-potassium environment results in significant abnormalities in central hemodynamics, leading to potential target organ damage. Altered renal sodium handling, impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilatation, and increased oxidative stress are important mediators of this effect. It remains of paramount importance to reinforce consumption of a low-sodium/high-potassium diet as a critical strategy for prevention and treatment of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.


Endothelium; dietary sodium/potassium; hypertension; nitric oxide; oxidative stress; pulse pressure; pulse wave velocity; stroke

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