Salt sensitivity of blood pressure is accompanied by slow respiratory rate: results of a clinical feeding study

David E. Anderson, Beverly A. Parsons, Jessica D. McNeely, Edgar R. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Sleep-disordered breathing has been implicated in hypertension, but whether daytime breathing is a factor in blood pressure (BP) regulation has not been investigated to date. The present study sought to determine the role of breathing pattern in salt sensitivity of BP. Thirty-six women, ages 40 to 70, were placed on a 6-day low-sodium/low-potassium diet followed by a 6-day high-sodium/low-potassium diet. Breathing pattern at rest and 24-hour ambulatory BP were monitored at baseline and after each 6-day diet period. Respiratory rate (but not tidal volume or minute ventilation) was an inverse predictor of systolic (r = -0.50; P < .001) and diastolic (r = -0.59; P < .001) blood pressure sensitivity to high sodium intake. Respiratory rate was positively associated with hemoglobin (r = + 0.38; P < .01), and the salt-induced change in hemoglobin was associated with salt-induced change in BP (r = -0.35; P < .05). These findings indicate that a pattern of slow breathing not compensated by increased tidal volume is associated with salt sensitivity of BP in women. Breathing patterns could play a role in the hypertensive response via sustained effects on blood gases and acid-base balance, and/or be a marker for other biological factors mediating the cardiovascular response to dietary salt intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-263
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society of Hypertension
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood pressure
  • hypertension
  • respiration
  • sodium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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