Sodium chloride preference was studied in 16 patients with essential hypertension and 26 normotensive volunteers over a two-day period. Each exhibited normal detection and recognition thresholds for the taste of NaCl. Each was placed on a constant dry diet containing 9 mEq Na+ and, as the only source of fluid, given a choice of drinking either distilled water, 0.15 M NaCl, or some combination of the two fluids. Patients with essential hypertension drank a significantly greater proportion of their total fluid as saline (day 1, 34.9 per cent vs 12.6 per cent; day 2, 34.1 per cent vs 13.5 per cent) and drank a greater total volume of fluid (day 1, 1332 vs 699 cc; day 2, 1419 vs 824 cc) than did the normotensive volunteers. The total amount of Na+ consumed by the patients was 4.8 to 7.3 times greater than that of the normotensive volunteers. Effective treatment of hypertension towered mean NaCl preference, Na+ Intake and total fluid intake in the four subjects studied under these conditions. These latter findings suggest that treatment with antihypertensive agents may play some role in altering salt appetite.
(C) Copyright 1974 Southern Society for Clinical Investigation