Abstract The importance of salt and water in the pathophysiology of the hypertensive state is well recognized. The current study is the first to report simultaneous measurements of red blood cell mass, plasma volume, extracellular fluid and total body water levels. Studies were performed in 82 white men, 14 with normal blood pressure and 16 with low renin and 52 with normal renin hypertension. The results indicate that subjects with normal renin hypertension compared with age-matched controls are characterized by an absolute increase (1.5 liter/m 2) in intracellular fluid (total body water minus extracellular fluid). Furthermore, the ratio of extracellular fluid to total body water is decreased (0.43 to 0.38). No volume differences were found between subjects with low renin hypertension and age-matched subjects with normal renin hypertension. We conclude that subjects with normal renin hypertension compared with age-matched peers are characterized by an expanded intracellular fluid and that subjects with low renin hypertension do not exhibit a unique volume disorder.