High blood pressure, which affects about half of all Americans, is a sneaky health problem. Many people don’t even realize they have it.
It happens when the force of your blood against your artery walls is too high. To understand it better, let’s break down how blood pressure is measured.
Your blood pressure has two numbers: systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure is the force when your heart pumps blood out. Diastolic pressure is the force when your heart rests and refills with blood.
Now, there’s some surprising news from Yeshiva University. Their recent study showed that drugs often given to lower blood pressure might actually make it go up in some patients. This sounds counterintuitive, right? But here’s what they found.
Doctors usually just prescribe medicine without knowing if it’s the best fit for a patient. The researchers think a better way is to check the levels of a special enzyme called renin in your blood.
This enzyme is really important in controlling blood pressure. A simple blood test, which is becoming more common, can measure renin levels.
In their study, they looked at 945 patients in New York City who were part of a workplace program for high blood pressure treatment. None of these patients were treated for high blood pressure before joining the study.
Their systolic blood pressure was 140 mmHg or higher. Remember, systolic is the top number in your blood pressure reading, and it tells us how much pressure your blood is exerting when your heart beats.
The patients were given one of two types of blood pressure medications. Some got a diuretic or a calcium channel blocker (these are called “V” drugs because they lower the volume of blood).
Others got a beta blocker or an ACE inhibitor (“R” drugs, which reduce renin levels).
The researchers then checked the patients’ renin levels and blood pressure before and after starting the medication.
They found that the level of renin could predict which patients would do well with either an R or a V drug. It also showed who might have an increase in blood pressure (what they call a “pressor response”) after taking these drugs.
Interestingly, 7.7% of the patients had their blood pressure go up, not down. This was most common in patients with low renin levels who took an R drug.
This finding challenges the old belief that when blood pressure goes up during treatment, it’s either because patients aren’t taking their meds correctly or just by chance.
It turns out, it’s not random at all. It’s because the medication doesn’t match the patient’s renin status.
The researchers believe that measuring renin levels can help doctors choose the best treatment. This is especially true for people starting blood pressure medicine for the first time or those taking multiple medications when one or two might be enough.
This study, done by Michael Alderman and his team, was published in the American Journal of Hypertension. It opens a new door in understanding and treating high blood pressure, showing the importance of personalized medicine.
If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about blood pressure drug that may increase risk of sudden cardiac arrest, and these teas could help reduce high blood pressure.
For more health information, please see recent studies about nutrient that could strongly lower high blood pressure, and results showing this novel antioxidant may help reverse blood vessels aging by 20 years.
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