Study shows an overlooked major cause of high blood pressure

Credit: Unsplash+

High blood pressure, affecting over 1.5 billion people globally, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and identifying its causes is crucial for effective prevention.

Recent research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital has shed light on an often-overlooked contributor: the hormone aldosterone.

Traditionally, the excessive production of aldosterone, a condition known as primary aldosteronism, was considered a rare cause of high blood pressure.

However, this study presents compelling evidence that the condition may be far more common than previously thought.

Aldosterone is produced by the adrenal glands and helps regulate blood pressure by controlling sodium and potassium levels in the body.

In primary aldosteronism, the glands produce too much aldosterone, leading to high blood pressure and potentially increasing the risk of heart disease.

The researchers conducted a detailed analysis involving patients across a spectrum of blood pressure conditions—from normal and stage 1 high blood pressure to stage 2 and resistant high blood pressure.

Their findings revealed a consistent pattern: the more severe the blood pressure, the higher the levels of aldosterone production.

Interestingly, most cases of increased aldosterone production identified in the study would not have been detected using current diagnostic standards. This suggests that many people with high blood pressure might be unaware that aldosterone is a contributing factor.

The implications of these findings are significant. They suggest that primary aldosteronism should not be seen as a rare disorder but rather as a common syndrome that exists across a broad spectrum of severity.

Recognizing it as a prevalent cause of high blood pressure could transform how we approach the diagnosis and treatment of this condition.

Fortunately, there are already generic medications available that can block the harmful effects of aldosterone. These drugs, known as aldosterone antagonists, are not only affordable but readily accessible.

The study suggests that these medications could be used more broadly to treat high blood pressure, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease more effectively.

The research underscores the importance of re-evaluating how we diagnose and manage high blood pressure. It encourages healthcare providers to consider aldosterone levels as a routine part of blood pressure assessments, which could lead to better-targeted treatments.

For those interested in understanding more about managing high blood pressure, further research also highlights methods such as fasting and dietary adjustments, along with how to accurately monitor blood pressure at home.

This recent study, led by Jenifer M. Brown and her team, was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

It not only offers new insights into the origins of high blood pressure but also points to practical steps that could help millions of people manage their condition more effectively, ultimately saving lives by preventing heart disease and stroke.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies that black licorice could cause dangerous high blood pressure, and this common plant nutrient could help reduce high blood pressure.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about how coffee influence your risk of high blood pressure, and results showing this olive oil could reduce blood pressure in healthy people.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.