Microalbuminuria in Salt-Sensitive Patients: A Marker for Renal and Cardiovascular Risk Factors

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We previously showed that a high salt diet increases glomerular capillary pressure in salt-sensitive hypertensive patients and suggested that this may underlie the greater propensity of these patients to develop renal failure. Because microalbuminuria is considered an initial sign of renal damage, we have tested whether salt-sensitive patients display greater urinary albumin excretion than salt-resistant hypertensive patients. Twenty-two patients were placed on a low sodium intake (20 mEq/d) for 7 days followed by a high sodium diet (250 mEq/d) for 7 more days. Twelve patients were classified as salt sensitive and 10 as salt resistant. Urinary albumin excretion was greater in salt-sensitive than saltresistant patients (54±11 versus 22±5 mg/24 h, P<.01). During the low sodium diet, glomerular filtration rate, renal plasma flow, and filtration fraction were similar between the two groups. During the high sodium intake, glomerular filtration, renal plasma flow, filtration fraction, and calculated intraglomerular pressure did not change in salt-resistant patients; in salt-sensitive patients, however, renal plasma flow decreased, and filtration fraction and intraglomerular pressure increased, whereas glomerular filtration rate did not change. Urinary albumin excretion was significantly correlated with glomerular capillary pressure. Salt-sensitive patients displayed higher serum levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and lipoprotein(a) and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol than salt-resistant patients. These studies have shown greater urinary albumin excretion and serum concentrations of atherogenic lipoproteins in salt-sensitive than in salt-resistant hypertensive patients, suggesting that salt sensitivity may be a marker for greater risk of renal and cardiovascular complications.

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