Electrolyte Intake in the Treatment of Hypertension

  • F. C. Luft
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 93 / 1)


Hypertension is the most common chronic disease in acculturated societies and is a major contributor to the development of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and renal failure (KAnnel 1979). The pharmacological treatment of hypertension is effective in reducing the incidence of complications in hypertensive patients; however, the treatment must be life long, has side effects, and is often expensive. Nonpharmacological approaches, especially dietary modifications, have appeal, particularly given the possibility that such interventions may ameliorate or protect against the development of hypertension. The dietary content of four electrolytes, namely sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, has received special attention. Epidemiological studies have investigated the role of the intake of each of these cations in the development of hypertension. Animal models have been used to document and elucidate the mechanisms by which these cations may influence blood pressure. Clinical trials have been conducted in normal and hypertensive individuals to examine the effect of modifying the dietary intake of each of these cations on blood pressure. Firm conclusions with respect to the safety and efficacy of these nonpharmacological approaches is of particular interest to those formulating health care policy. Further, clinicians applying these interventions must be confident that they are effective and safe.


Essential Hypertension Sodium Intake Salt Intake Blood Pressure Response Dietary Sodium 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. C. Luft

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