Determinants of circadian blood pressure rhythm in essential hypertension

Am J Hypertens. 1999 Jan;12(1 Pt 1):35-9. doi: 10.1016/s0895-7061(98)00182-4.


It has been postulated that the lack of nocturnal blood pressure fall in patients called nondippers is associated with more serious end organ damages by hypertension than in dippers whose blood pressure falls during the night. Recently, we found that sodium restriction shifted circadian rhythm of blood pressure from that of a nondipper to a dipper in patients with essential hypertension. In the present study, we aimed to clarify these important findings from the different approaches, and examined which factors affected the diurnal rhythm of blood pressure. A total of 70 patients with essential hypertension were maintained on high and low sodium diets for 1 week each. Nocturnal fall in mean arterial pressure was calculated in each patient, and, based on multiple regression analysis, independent factors affecting this nocturnal fall were examined. Thirty-eight patients were classified as non-sodium-sensitive, whereas 32 were considered sodium sensitive, based on a >10% change in 24-h mean arterial pressure by sodium restriction. In all 70 patients, sodium sensitivity of blood pressure, as well as an interaction between sodium sensitivity and sodium restriction, were identified as independent factors affecting the nocturnal fall. In sodium-sensitive types, in addition to sodium restriction, glomerular filtration rate was identified, whereas, in non-sodium sensitive types, there was no significant factor. Based on multiple regression analysis, the present study reached the same important conclusion as our previous findings: namely, that the enhanced sodium sensitivity was an independent determinant for the diminished nocturnal fall in essential hypertension and that sodium restriction could restore the nocturnal decline, especially in patients with enhanced sodium sensitivity whose nocturnal decline was diminished. Reduced renal sodium excretory capability may be one of the mechanisms involved in nondipping.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diet therapy
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Hypertension / urine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Natriuresis / physiology
  • Sodium / urine
  • Sodium, Dietary / pharmacology


  • Sodium, Dietary
  • Sodium
  • Creatinine