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Published on February 2, 2012 | http://doi.org/10.5867/medwave.2012.02.5301
Sodium-potassium balance in the regulation of high blood pressure
Equilibrio sodio-potasio en la regulación de la hipertensión arterial
The World Health Organization considers essential hypertension as a primary cause of death. Twenty-five percent of the population over 15 has high blood pressure (HBP), equivalent to a billion people. It has been predicted that this group will increase by 60%, lineal with age increase in the overall population. Unfortunately, detection, treatment and effective control of HBP, are deficient both in Chile and in the rest of the world, making it an unresolved health problem demanding urgent attention. The recently conducted Chilean National Health Survey (2009-2010) revealed a 26.9% prevalence of this condition in the population, sixty-five percent of individuals are aware of their condition, 37.6% are in treatment and only 16,49% are effectively controlled. Furthermore, the survey reveals unhealthy life-style markers, which explains the epidemic that besets the country as there are multiple risk factors at stake. This review focuses mainly on the importance of the sodium-potassium relationship in the regulation of high blood pressure. It must be pointed out that all of the studies underscore the importance of sodium in the genesis of hypertension because of its effects of blood pressure, especially in sensitive individuals, while little attention has been given to the manifold beneficial actions of potassium in the regulation of blood pressure.