The aim of this study was to investigate whether intake of dietary sodium or potassium is related to changes in left ventricular (LV) diastolic functioning and LV mass index in young subjects with normal or elevated blood pressure. We prospectively analyzed echocardiographic data in 1,065 young adults (18 to 39 years) enrolled in the Strong Heart Family Study who were free from cardiovascular disease at baseline: 501 (47%) participants were normotensive and 564 (53%) were prehypertensive or hypertensive. Dietary sodium and potassium intakes were ascertained using a block food frequency questionnaire at baseline. Cardiac geometry and functioning were assessed at baseline and 4 years later. Marginal models were used to assess the associations of average intakes of sodium and potassium with echocardiographic measures. Participants with prehypertension or hypertension were older, had higher body mass index, and reported higher intakes of sodium than normotensive subjects at baseline. In prospective analyses, potassium intake was found to be negatively related to mitral E velocity (p=0.029) in normotensive subjects, whereas sodium/potassium ratio was positively associated with atrial filling fraction (p=0.017). In prehypertensive or hypertensive participants, sodium consumption was positively associated with atrial filling fraction (p=0.034) and an increase in sodium/potassium ratio was related to higher LV mass index (p=0.046). In conclusion, an increase in dietary sodium/potassium ratio was related to an accentuation of atrial phase LV diastolic filling in normotensive young subjects, whereas in prehypertensive or hypertensive subjects it was associated with higher LV mass index.
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