Posted by: Alyssa Morris in Hypertension on November 4th, 2011

Blood pressure homeostatis in humans is a result of the coordinated interactions of multiple physiological systems that are affected by many genetic and environmental factors. In many individuals, these factors combine to cause an elevation in blood pressure, or hypertension. Our interest in determinating the mechanisms regulating blood pressure stems from the fact that hypertension is a major health problem of populations worldwide, and causes devastating consequence such as stroke, heart failure and renal failure.

At present, high blood pressure is detected by screening, meaning that it cannot be diagnosed until it has developed. Recommendations for primary prevention of essential hypertension currently emphasize avoidance of factors that predispose to hypertension, such as obesity, physical inactivity, alcoholism and a high salt intake. Although such recommendations, if broadly accepted by the general public, would lead to a healthier population, they are difficult to uphold without patient compliance.

Identification of genetic marlers for a predisposition to hypertension in the future may permit focused intervention on such hypertensinogenic factors. For example, if an individual is found to have a genetic predisposition to impaired sodium homeostatis, the early introduction of salt restriction may help prevent hypertension, or at least delay onset. We may also predict blood pressure responsiveness to specific lifestyle interventions.

Drug Responsiveness

Drug effects are likely to be polygenocally determined. It may be feasible to develop gene markers for individual drug responsiveness in the future. This new field, termed “pharmacogenomics”, well probably help clinicians to prescribe more individualized of empirical treatment, to hypertensive patients. There have been several attempts to raltae genetic polymorphisms to drug responsiveness. There have also been attempts to ralate polymorphisms of the reninangiotensin sytem genes to effects to ACE inhibitors on the heart, and certain gene variants to diuretic responsiveness.

Target Organ Protection

Although many advances have been made in the treatment of hypertension, target organ damage remains a major cause of morbidity, and susceptibility genes may markerdly increase the risk of particular hypertensive complications.

In contrast to the numerous determinants of blood pressure level, it seems likely that target organ failure represents the “weak link” in a process of damage and repair, therefore, a smaller number of genes could predispose an individual to hypertensive complications. Genetic determinants for hypertensive organ damage may be closer to our traditional model of inborn errors of metabolism than to the complex trait of hypertension. Identifications of markers may enable us to intervene early before irreversible changes occur.

Essential hypertension has a complex pathogenesis in which many genetic and environmental factors interact. Identification of the causative genes of monogenic hypertension and its physiological dysfunction is still at an early stage. In the future, high-throughput techniques will accelerate the pace of discovery. Clinical practice in the management of hypertension will be altered by a new understanding of the condition.

Posted by: Alyssa Morris in Hypertension on May 18th, 2011

There are many factors contributing to raised blood pressure; e.g. diet, lifestyle, stress or lack of exercise. Hypertension, if left untreated, can result in serious medical conditions such as heart attack, kidney failure or stroke. Many people have begun to turn to natural remedies and cures for high blood pressure. While conventional medicines often do not address the root causes, natural remedies treat both its symptoms and the underlying causes. Let’s examine the most effective ones in greater detail.

Herbal remedies

Herbs frequently used to control and regulate blood pressure levels include hawthorn, passionflower, guelder rose (also known as water elder, European cranberry bush, cramp bark or snowball tree) and ginkgo. They are often the base for ready-made herbal remedies. All of them have the ability to lower blood pressure and act as a tonic for the heart.

You can grow them in your garden, buy them individually or as a ready-made mix from herbal suppliers and online. If you buy them, always source your herbal remedies from a reputable company to ensure maximum safety and efficacy.

You can create a mix for raised blood pressure from

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  • 30ml of hawthorn tincture (strength 1:2, i.e. one part of plant material and two parts of alcohol),
  • 20ml of yarrow and 30ml of lime flower tincture (both strength 1:5) and
  • 20ml of valerian tincture (strength 1:1).

Making tinctures is not difficult but if you don’t want to do that it is possible to buy them ready-made. To make the mix, pour the tinctures together into a dark glass bottle and store at room temperature. The mix can be used for up to a year.

For treatment, take 5ml diluted in water, 2-3 times day. In addition to the mix you can take 1-2 fresh cloves of garlic or 5g of garlic powder in capsules, once or twice a day. Be aware that hawthorn is not always compatible with conventional hypertension medication and yarrow should not be taken by pregnant women, and with caution if you are allergic to the plants in the daisy and sunflower families. Garlic may interact with prescription blood-thinning drugs and aspirin. Do not take large doses of garlic for prolonged periods of time or when pregnant or breastfeeding and in the weeks before and after any type of surgery.

Diet and lifestyle

Changing your diet is an important part of lowering high blood pressure. A diet that helps to reduce blood pressure consists of vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, beans, nuts and a limited amount of salt. Fish oil, folic acid, calcium and magnesium supplements have been shown to be beneficial for reducing blood pressure as have mind-body practices, particularly autogenic training, biofeedback, yoga and aerobics.

Herbal treatment for hypertension can last from six months to two years, after which you should see a sustained improvement in your blood pressure readings. The best results are achieved when you use natural remedies consistently and follow the recommendations regarding diet and lifestyle. If you are currently taking prescription medicines for hypertension, it is important to consult your doctor before making any changes or additions to your medication. During treatment you should also have your blood pressure checked regularly.