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July 15, 1983

Salt and Hypertension

Author Affiliations

University of Washington School of Medicine Seattle

JAMA. 1983;250(3):388-389. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340030048029

The controversy over whether the habitual level of sodium chloride intake has any causal relationship to hypertension has continued since the pioneering work of Ambard and Beaujard1 and Allen.2 At the turn of the century, Ambard and Beaujard were among the first to point an accusing finger at high salt intake as a major factor in the pathogenesis of essential hypertension. The article by Holden et al in this issue (p 365) represents a novel approach to the problem of trying to correlate habitual salt intake with BP in a large population. Their negative results agree well with those of numerous previous studies of other large population groups.3,4

Meneely and Battarbee5 explained why all such studies fail to reveal the true relationship between sodium intake and essential hypertension. Meneely and Battarbee have termed it "the saturation effect." What that means requires some explanation, which I have