Know your Genes and Hypertension

Know your Genes and Hypertension

Hypertension in India

Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. Hypertension is the most important risk factor for chronic disease burden in India. High blood pressure is a prime causative factor in cardiovascular and stroke morbidity -mortality. Cases of hypertension are increasing day by day but due to lack of awareness most of them are undiagnosed until a severe co morbidity strikes. Global Burden of Diseases study reported that hypertension led to 1.63 million deaths in India in 2016 as compared to 0.78 million in 1990.

Cause of Hypertension

Causes of hypertension are smoking, drinking, no physical activity, excessive salt consumption, stress and genetics. It is easy to underestimate the cumulative effects of high blood pressure, since the damage is asymptomatic initially. Some people have symptoms of hypertension like persistent headaches, shortness of breath or nose bleeds, symptoms are not severe until they a life threatening stage. When high blood pressure start damaging arteries present in lungs and right ventricle it can result into pulmonary hypertension and result in complications.

Hypertension can be hereditary

Hypertension tends to run in families. Genetics of hypertension is complex where many genes each with mild effects reacting to different environmental stimuli contribute to blood pressure. Individuals whose parents have hypertension have an elevated risk of developing the condition, particularly if both parents are carrier of genetic factors.

Genetic or DNA testing for Hypertension

The field of molecular genetics has revolutionized the study of hypertension by identifying single nucleotide variants (SNPs) and several candidate genes for blood pressure variation. Analysis of such genes with a DNA testing can provide you an overview about your risk for genetic predisposition to hypertension. This approach has the advantage of simplifying treatment decisions for cardiovascular conditions like

  • Early identification of individuals at risk before development of pre - hypertensive symptoms.
  • Implementation of important targeted lifestyle interventions.
  • Time to time preventive health checkup for individuals at a very high risk of other hypertension related diseases.

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