New way to diagnose and treat high blood pressure

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In an exciting development from Queen Mary University of London, researchers have discovered a breakthrough in diagnosing and treating a common cause of high blood pressure.

This advancement involves a new type of CT scan capable of detecting tiny nodules in the adrenal glands that contribute to hypertension, offering hope for a cure for many.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects millions worldwide and can lead to severe health issues like heart disease and stroke.

For 1 in 20 people with this condition, the root cause has been elusive and difficult to treat due to tiny nodules in the adrenal glands producing excess aldosterone, a hormone that raises blood pressure.

Until now, identifying these nodules was a challenge, often requiring a specialized catheter study available at only a few hospitals, which frequently failed to pinpoint the problem.

The groundbreaking study involved scanning 128 patients suffering from hypertension caused by excess aldosterone. Astonishingly, two-thirds of these patients had their condition linked to a benign nodule in one of their adrenal glands.

The researchers used a novel approach involving a short-acting dose of metomidate, a radioactive dye, which selectively highlights the aldosterone-producing nodules, making them easily identifiable.

This new scan method not only matched the accuracy of the traditional catheter test but surpassed it in ease, speed, and success rate. It was quick, painless, and worked perfectly for every patient, a stark contrast to the older, more invasive method.

The implications of this discovery are profound. Until now, predicting which patients could be cured of hypertension through the surgical removal of the affected gland was a guessing game.

However, with this new scanning technique, combined with a urine steroid test, researchers could successfully identify patients who could achieve normal blood pressure without medication post-surgery.

For decades, the vast majority of these aldosterone-producing nodules went undiagnosed due to the difficulty and unavailability of effective testing methods. They are tiny and easily missed on standard CT scans.

However, when they are illuminated by the radioactive dye, they reveal themselves as the clear culprits of hypertension, offering a potential cure.

Furthermore, the combination of the new CT scan and a urine test has shown promising results in identifying patients who might not need blood pressure medications after treatment.

This breakthrough could significantly reduce the number of people suffering from high blood pressure, potentially saving lives by steering patients towards effective surgery.

The research team is optimistic about the future, hoping that this non-invasive and reliable diagnostic method will become widely available, changing how high blood pressure caused by aldosterone-secreting nodules is treated worldwide.

More extensive research is anticipated to further validate the effectiveness of this novel approach in larger patient groups, paving the way for a new era in managing and potentially curing high blood pressure.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about how diets could help lower high blood pressure, and 3 grams of omega-3s a day keep high blood pressure at bay.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies that beetroot juice could help reduce blood pressure, and results showing cinnamon could help lower high blood pressure.

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