Mechanisms of Salt-Sensitive Hypertension
Hypertension and its consequences, including heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease, are responsible for
substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide. Lifestyle changes, particularly sodium reduction, contribute to blood
pressure control. However, not all individuals, whether normotensive or hypertensive, have the same susceptibility to the
effects of salt. While a variety of approaches have been proposed to identify salt sensitive patients, there is no consensus
for a definition of salt sensitivity and the precise mechanisms that explain their association are not yet fully understood. In
this review we summarize the current understanding of the various pathophysiological mechanisms potentially involved in
determining the salt sensitive phenotype. Genetic, neuronal, and immune alterations are reviewed. Additionally, we
provide an update on the current knowledge of a new approach proposing the interstitium of the skin may act as a sodium
reservoir. The role of dietary potassium on salt sensitive hypertension is also summarized.
Keywords: Hypertension, pathophysiology, pressure natriuresis, salt intake, salt sensitivity.
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