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March 1966

Sodium Surfeit and Edema in the Tropics

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Internal Medicine, Gorgas Hospital, Canal Zone.

Arch Intern Med. 1966;117(3):330-334. doi:10.1001/archinte.1966.03870090014003

A PREVIOUS study from this hospital1 revealed that the sodium excretion of subjects fasting in a tropical environment was significantly greater than that reported from similar studies in the United States and Canada (Fig 1).2,3 Since in all of these studies restriction of both sodium and calories was begun simultaneously, the sodium excretion which normally occurs after salt restriction could not be distinguished from the natriuresis due to fasting. In order to separate these two factors, we studied the electrolyte excretion in a group of tropical residents who were subjected to salt restriction alone until the urinary sodium had declined to low levels and who then fasted for 10 to 14 days.

This report is concerned with the response to salt restriction. The results demonstrate that our patients excreted a greater quantity of sodium for a longer period of time than has been reported in similar studies in