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Scientists discover genetic clues to high blood pressure (hypertension)

Published on 12/09/2011

A new study has discovered more than 20 new genetic factors that influence the risk of high blood pressure in private health insurance customers.

The results, published in Nature and Nature Genetics, could be crucial to developing new treatments for high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

Scientists from 24 countries analysed data from more than 200,000 people. They discovered that each genetic variant was in at least 5% of people, while some of the more common ones were present in up to 14% of people.

‘The more of these variants an individual has, the greater are his or her chances of having hypertension, left ventricular wall thickness, stroke and coronary artery disease,’ said co-author Prof Aravinda Chakravarti.

Whilst the impact of lifestyle on blood pressure has been well recognised, the genetic elements of hypertension have previously been poorly understood.

Although researchers have only uncovered 1% of the genetic contribution, one particular series of chemical reactions in the blood has been highlighted as a target for new drugs.

The British Heart Foundation's medical director, Prof Peter Weissberg, said: "Researchers from across the world have now identified some of the genes linked to blood pressure control, which could pave the way for new treatments in the future.

"But your genes are only one piece of the puzzle. You are less likely to have high blood pressure if you stick to a healthy diet, do plenty of exercise, and maintain a healthy weight."

This comes after news that patients with high blood pressure need monitoring devices to reduce misdiagnosis by the NHS.

Private medical cover holders often have access to cutting edge drugs and treatments not available on the NHS. Compare health insurance policies online with ActiveQuote now to make sure you are covered in the future.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011


Categories:  Medical
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