A blood-pressure gene is discovered

One in five white people appear to carry a gene that could raise their risk of high blood pressure. The gene at fault, called the STK39 gene, was found after scanning the entire genetic code of hundreds of Americans and Europeans. Those with the faulty gene had raised blood pressure compared with those carrying other versions of the gene.

One in five white people appear to carry a gene that could raise their risk of high blood pressure. The gene at fault, called the STK39 gene, was found after scanning the entire genetic code of hundreds of Americans and Europeans. Those with the faulty gene had raised blood pressure compared with those carrying other versions of the gene.

This discovery could one day lead to treatment regimens tailored to the needs of each individual suffering from high blood pressure.

High blood pressure usually causes no symptoms. One Canadian out of five is thought to suffer from high blood pressure; of those, the vast majority is unaware of their condition or is not being treated. The stress caused by high blood pressure can have a negative impact on blood vessels in the heart, brain and kidneys. For this reason, individuals with high blood pressure are more at risk of kidney failure, heart problems or strokes.

High blood pressure appears to be caused by multiple interactions between lifestyle and genetics. Several genes probably slightly increase the risk of high blood pressure. Even though, individuals cannot change their genetic background, they certainly can change some of their lifestyle habits. Eating better, being physically active, not smoking, reaching or keeping a healthy weight are all changes that can significantly reduce one’s risk of high blood pressure. These changes can also help reduce the consequences of high blood pressure if one already suffers from this condition.

When high blood pressure is diagnosed, healthy lifestyle habits can help lower blood pressure to a healthy level. However, medications are usually needed to lower the risk of complications. To learn more about high blood pressure, talk to your pharmacist.

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