The contribution of urinary cations to the blood pressure differences associated with migration

Michael J. Klag, Jiang He, Josef Coresh, Paul K. Whelton, Jun Yun Chen, Jing Ping Mo, Ming Chu Qian, Pei Sheng Mo, Guan Qing He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People living in unacculturated societies have a low average blood pressure and little rise in blood pressure with age. In a community-based survey in southwestern China, the authors assessed the contribution of urinary cation excretion to differences in blood pressure between an unacculturated group (Yi farmers) and migrants to an urban environment, as well as urban controls from a different ethnic group (Han). In March 1989, blood pressure and overnight urinary electrolyte levels were measured on 3 consecutive days in 313 Yi farmers, 265 Yi migrants, and 253 urban Han residents, all male. Of the urinary electrolytes, a higher sodium: potassium ratio best explained the higher blood pressure in the migrants. Yi farmers had lower systolic (106.7 mmHg vs. 114.8 mmHg, respectively) and diastolic (66.2 mmHg vs. 71.3 mmHg, respectively) blood pressures than Yi migrants. However, even after adjustment for age, body mass index, alcohol intake, and urinary sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium excretion, Yi farmers continued to have lower average blood pressures than Yi migrants. In pooled analyses of all three groups, urinary sodium and calcium were positively related and urinary potassium and magnesium were inversely related to blood pressure. Migration is associated with a higher blood pressure that is only partially explained by higher levels of adiposity and alcohol and sodium intake and lower levels of potassium and magnesium intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-303
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1995


  • Blood pressure
  • Electrolytes
  • Hypertension
  • Nutrition
  • Transients and migrants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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