By now we all know that we should eat plenty of vegetables, sugar and oils, and exercise frequently to keep our blood pressure at healthy levels.
But, how about genetic high blood pressure?
In a new study published in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers at Queen Mary University London and Imperial College London exposed 107 genes linked directly to high blood pressure.
You wouldn’t think you could do anything about it if you had these genes. Wrong! Discovering these genes may actually jump-start you to a natural cure.
Unsurprisingly, most of these genes express themselves in blood vessels and other cardiovascular tissue.
Of the 107 genes, 32 are previously undiscovered, and at least 53 have been previously reported, but not verified.
They examined the data of 420,000 British people whose information was available in the UK Biobank. Altogether, they analyzed 9.8 million genetic variants and compared these with their blood pressure data.
Together with the identification of the genes, the scientists also discovered that they could use the genetic information of each person to predict his or her risk score for stroke and heart disease.
People with the highest risk score had a 10 mmHg higher blood pressure reading than those with the lowest score, translating to a 50 percent higher risk of stroke or heart disease.
Being medical scientists, the authors recommended that the 107 genetic variants could all be targeted with medication; a scary idea when considering the side effects that the commonly prescribed blood pressure medications already have.
But they made other recommendations too.
For example, early-life use of a genetic risk score for hypertension can enable all of us to design lifestyles that minimize cardiovascular risks.
Those at the highest risk will have to work much harder than their peers to modify their diets, exercise programs, levels of stress, and other factors to avoid hypertension.
Genetic disadvantages do not make it inevitable that we will develop diseases as we grow up and age; they only make us more vulnerable to such diseases.
Just like the small kid in class has to work harder to jump high, you’ll have to take extra measures to tackle your blood pressure if you’re genetically prone.