This article was presented at the 2008 AAPA meeting in a symposium in honor of A. Roberto Frisancho, on the occasion of his retirement from the Department of Anthropology of the University of Michigan.
Original Research Article
Sodium, blood pressure, and ethnicity: What have we learned?†
Version of Record online: 10 JUL 2009
Copyright © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Human Biology
Special Issue: Special Section: Symposium in Honor of A. Roberto Frisancho
Volume 21, Issue 5, pages 679–686, September/October 2009
How to Cite
Gleiberman, L. (2009), Sodium, blood pressure, and ethnicity: What have we learned?. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 21: 679–686. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.20921
- Issue online: 3 AUG 2009
- Version of Record online: 10 JUL 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 12 FEB 2009
- Manuscript Received: 12 JAN 2009
An enormous amount of research has yielded significant knowledge about ethnic differences in sodium homeostasis and blood pressure regulation. Consistent findings such as greater sodium-sensitivity, lower potassium excretion and high higher serum sodium levels in African Americans need further exploration to define more precise physiological mechanisms. The genetic alleles associated with sodium homeostasis in relation to blood pressure have accounted for only a small proportion of the variance in blood pressure. Several allelic variants differ in frequency among ethnic groups and heat-adapted genetic variants have a high prevalence in low latitudes and hot, wet climates which lends support to the “sodium retention” hypothesis. The blood pressure disparities between African Americans and whites may, in part, be due to different allelic frequencies of genes associated with sodium homeostasis. However, with advances in genomics, environmental factors tend to be neglected in research. Better measures of environmental stress have recently been developed by anthropologists and should be included in research designs by investigators in other disciplines. Public health efforts should encourage food producers to reduce sodium content of its products, and physicians should encourage patients to reduce consumption of high sodium packaged and fast foods. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.