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.
Keywords: Endothelium; dietary sodium/potassium; hypertension; nitric oxide; oxidative stress; pulse pressure; pulse wave velocity; stroke.
Published by Elsevier Inc.