Blood pressure and diurnal variation in sodium, potassium, and water excretion

A. R. Dyer*, G. J. Martin, W. N. Burton, M. Levin, J. Stamler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to examine associations of blood pressure (BP) with ratios of overnight to 24-h urinary excretion of sodium, potassium, and water. Each of 125 men 27-64 years of age, not taking diuretics, had BP measured during the day on a Monday. Beginning Monday evening, each participant provided three carefully timed 24-h urine collections, divided into daytime and overnight (bedtime to awakening) specimens. Proportion of total 24-h excretion of sodium, potassium, and water in the overnight specimen, standardised for creatinine excretion, was determined for each 24-h period. Associations of systolic and diastolic BP (SBP/DBP) with these proportions were examined with control for age, body mass index, alcohol intake, and heart rate. Mean BP was 116/71 mm Hg; 15 men were on non-diuretic anti-hypertensive therapy. Mean 24-h urinary excretion was 168 mmol for sodium, 68 mmol for potassium, and 16 mmol for creatinine. Mean overnight to 24-h proportions averaged over the 3 days were 30.7% for sodium, 22.0% for potassium, 32.1% for urinary volume, and 33.2% for creatinine. Partial correlations of SBP and DBP with the 3-day averages were 0.257 (P < 0.01) and 0.210 (P < 0.05) for sodium; 0.223 (P < 0.05) and 0.222 (P < 0.05) for potassium; 0.127 and 0.091 for urinary volume; and -0.033 and 0.014 for creatinine. Correlations for sodium proportions were larger for the first 24-h period, compared to the second or third 24-h period. These results indicate that higher BP was associated with a relatively greater proportion of sodium and potassium excretion at night. Further work is needed to clarify temporal sequence, ie, whether a relatively greater sodium and potassium excretion at night is a risk factor for higher BP (eg, via renal mechanisms), or whether higher BP results in relatively greater sodium and potassium excretion at night, or both.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-371
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of human hypertension
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998


  • Blood pressure
  • Diurnal patterns
  • Potassium
  • Sodium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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