Excessive salt intake is an established risk factor for hypertension. We conducted a cross-sectional study to examine the association between salty taste recognition and estimated salt intake and masked hypertension in a healthy Japanese normotensive population. The participants were 892 apparently healthy community residents (246 men and 646 women) aged between 40 and 74 years with blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg. Salty taste recognition was assessed using a salt-impregnated taste strip. Daily salt intake was calculated as estimated 24 h urinary sodium excretion using spot urine tests. Each participant performed home blood pressure measurements for a minimum of 5 days per week. The participants were classified into three groups according to their salty taste recognition threshold evaluated by the salt concentrations of the taste strips (0.6%, 0.8%, and ≥ 1.0%). In women, the multivariate odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for masked hypertension (≥ 135/85 mm Hg) was 2.98 (1.16–7.64) in the ≥ 1.0% group compared with that in the 0.6% group. In men, the proportion of masked hypertension in the ≥ 1.0% group did not differ from that in the 0.6% group, and no correlation was identified between estimated daily salt intake and the salty taste recognition threshold. In conclusion, impairment of salty taste recognition was associated with masked hypertension in women even with normal blood pressure in the clinical setting.
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