In a significant advancement in medical research, Professor Murray Cairns and his team at the Hunter Medical Research Institute and the University of Newcastle have made a groundbreaking discovery.
They’ve found a way to predict how well someone will respond to blood pressure treatments that lower sodium in the body. Their exciting findings were published recently in the journal Circulation.
Professor Cairns highlights a critical health issue: high blood pressure, or hypertension. This condition is a major concern worldwide, affecting one in three Australian adults, similar to global trends.
Despite its prevalence, only about 30% of those with high blood pressure manage to keep it under control. High blood pressure can lead to severe health complications and even death, accounting for up to 20% of deaths in some populations.
The economic impact is also staggering – for example, reducing hypertension by just 25% could save the Australian Government a whopping $34 billion annually.
The key to Professor Cairns and his team’s research is personalization. They’ve figured out how to use each person’s unique genetic makeup to determine the most effective treatment for their high blood pressure.
Everyone’s body reacts differently to medications, and this new approach allows for treatments tailored to individual genetic profiles.
High blood pressure can be influenced by various factors, including genetics and lifestyle. Some people’s genetic makeup makes them more prone to high blood pressure, especially when combined with a modern diet high in salt.
For these individuals, medications that reduce the body’s sodium (and therefore blood volume) can be particularly effective.
However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. The team recognizes that for some people, salt intake isn’t a major contributor to their high blood pressure.
These individuals might benefit more from treatments targeting other aspects of their genetic risk.
This research is part of a larger movement towards precision medicine – treatments specifically designed to work with a person’s unique genetic makeup.
This approach is gaining traction as researchers realize that many diseases, including hypertension, have complex causes that vary from person to person.
Professor Cairns’ team utilized data from the UK Biobank, a large-scale biomedical database, to analyze the interaction between genetics related to sodium, actual sodium levels in the body, and blood pressure.
By examining this data, they were able to make connections between genetic markers, sodium, and blood pressure responses, paving the way for more personalized and effective treatments.
With chronic diseases affecting a significant portion of the population – 80% of people have at least one chronic condition, and 20% have two or more – this kind of research is crucial.
The ability to tailor medical treatments to the individual could revolutionize healthcare, potentially improving the lives of millions of people with high blood pressure and other chronic conditions.
Professor Cairns’ work is a significant step in this direction, offering hope for more effective and personalized healthcare solutions.
If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure, and natural coconut sugar could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.
The research findings can be found in Circulation.
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