Hypertension is a cardiovascular disease affecting approximately one out of every seven people worldwide. High-sodium consumption has been generally accepted as a risk factor for developing hypertension. Today, global sodium consumption greatly exceeds guidelines recommended by all medical institutions. This review synthesizes the data of landmark mammalian and human studies which investigated the role of sodium in the pathogenesis of hypertension, along with modern studies questioning this relationship. Recent studies concerning the potential pathways by which high-sodium concentration induces hypertension were reviewed. Human trials and population studies revealed a strong correlation between high blood pressure and average dietary sodium; and animal studies found a dramatic reduction in vascular function in a variety of mammals treated with high-sodium diets. In spite of a few contrarian studies, we found overwhelming evidence that elevated sodium consumption could cause hypertension.
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