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Am J Hypertens. 1996 Jan;9(1):24-32.

Clustering of cardiovascular risk factors in salt-sensitive patients with essential hypertension: role of insulin.

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U.O. di Nefrologia, Spedali Riuniti, Livorno, Italy.


Hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, or both have been described in a proportion of patients with essential hypertension, and also are considered a risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. In this study, we have examined whether salt sensitivity and hyperinsulinemia are associated in patients with essential hypertension. We have measured blood insulin and glucose response to an acute oral glucose load in a group of hypertensive patients, classified according to their salt sensitivity. To determine salt sensitivity, patients received a diet containing a low (20 mEq/day) Na+ intake for 1 week followed by a high (250 mEq/day) Na+ intake for 1 week more. Twenty-nine patients were classified as salt sensitive, and 23 as salt resistant. Baseline plasma glucose and insulin were not different between salt-sensitive and salt-resistant patients. Following an oral glucose load, the area-under-the curve of glucose was greater (P < .05) in salt-sensitive than in salt-resistant hypertensive patients (900 +/- 26.4 and 810 +/- 29.1 mmol/L x 2 h, respectively). The area-under-the curve of insulin was greater (P < .01) in salt-sensitive (52,664 +/- 3,666 pmol/L x 2 h) than in salt-resistant patients (37,977 +/- 3,300 pmol/L x 2 h). A direct correlation was present between insulin area-under-the curve and salt sensitivity (r = 0.26), but did not reach statistical significance (P < .06). Salt-sensitive patients manifested increased serum levels of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and increased urinary albumin excretion when compared with salt-resistant patients. In conclusion, these studies have demonstrated that in response to an oral glucose load, salt-sensitive patients with essential hypertension manifest increased insulin secretion. The studies have confirmed the presence of increased urinary albumin excretion and serum levels of atherogenic lipoproteins in salt-sensitive compared with salt-resistant patients. In salt-sensitive hypertensive patients, hyperinsulinemia, hyperlipidemia and microalbuminuria form a cluster with possible atherogenic potential. Salt sensitivity can be a marker for increased cardiovascular risk in patients with essential hypertension.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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