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High blood pressure cured…sort of


Study identifies gene variant that causes a type of hypertension and a cure for it

Researchers at Queen Mary University in London and Barts Hospital report that they have found a gene variant that causes one form of hypertension and a way to cure it, according to the research published in Nature Genetics.

Hypertension: ©Lesterman -

Hypertension: ©Lesterman -

The gene variant affects one in twenty people with hypertension and is caused by a benign nodule that produces aldosterone, which regulates salt in the body. The gene variant causes an over-production of the hormone, which in turn, causes salt overload and hypertension. Patients with this variant are difficult to diagnose because this fluctuates, so a blood test may not reveal it. Fewer than 1% of people due to aldosterone are identified because aldosterone is not routinely measured, according to the study.

Researcher said that removing one of the two adrenal glands will cure patients with this gene variant of hypertension. No further treatment for hypertension is required.

To better diagnose patients, the researchers recommend that aldosterone be measured through a 24-hour urine test rather than one time blood tests.

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health