Researching Your Family History Of Blood Pressure
Doctors and scientists who are experts in the field of blood pressure have found that a tendency to develop high blood pressure seems to run in families. That means that if your parents or other close blood relatives have high blood pressure, you have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure compared with someone whose close blood relatives have normal blood pressure. And it seems that the more relatives you have who suffer from high blood pressure, the greater your risk of developing high blood pressure runs.
Children who have one parent with high blood pressure have a greater chance of developing the disease than children with no family history of high blood pressure, but when both parents have high blood pressure, the odds are even greater.
Check out your family’s health history. Finding a history of high blood pressure in your immediate family does not mean that you will definitely develop high blood pressure, but you do have an increased risk.
Some good news for people with family histories of high blood pressure is that a new genetic screening test might eventually make it possible to identify people at risk for high blood pressure before clinical signs of disease appear. Researchers in California and Michigan have discovered genetic markers which signal increased risk for high blood pressure and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
At Cornell University Medical Center, a link between the markers and high blood pressure is being studied in 70 people with high blood pressure and 30 people with normal blood pressure levels. Not only will accurate prediction of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis enable doctors to truly practice preventative medicine, but also the prescribed treatment will be more effective if the doctor knows what genetic defect is causing the problem.
In separate research, doctors found that a basic hereditary cell defect might be the cause of high blood pressure in about half of the people who develop it. They found that some people with high blood pressure have an abnormal reaction to calcium in their muscle cells. Researchers hope to be able to identify who has these cell defects and how their blood pressure can be properly regulated.