Link between Genetics and High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a chronic disease that reduces the quality of life and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension affects one in three adults globally and is responsible for 1 in every 5 deaths globally.
This can be because hypertension is not symptomatic until the condition reaches a critical stage. Unlike popular belief, hypertension does affect not only adults but also younger adults due to the hectic modern lifestyle.
If the question “is blood pressure hereditary” bothering you, then you may want to pay close attention to this article. As you read further, we will discuss how genetics can affect your risk of developing high blood pressure. We’ll also talk about whether or not you should be screened for high blood pressure based on your family history.
Hypertension: The silent killer
Hypertension occurs when the blood vessels are unable to constrict properly, leading to an increase in blood flow through them. This means that the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. Over time, this can lead to heart failure and other health problems.
The normal (healthy) range of blood pressure is between 90-120 mm Hg systolic pressure and 60-80 mm Hg diastolic pressure (mm Hg). However, these numbers vary depending on age and gender.
People with hypertension have blood pressures higher than 140/90 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). High blood pressure does not always cause symptoms. When it does, it may cause headaches, nosebleeds and vision problems. It also increases the risk of coronary artery disease and stroke.
Hypertension can be caused by various factors including genetics, stress and poor diet. Various studies have shown that people who have a history of hypertension in their family are more likely to develop this condition themselves.
The connection between genetics and high blood pressure
Genes play a role in the development of high blood pressure. Studies have shown an increased risk of hypertension among people who have a close family member with the condition. A child born to parents with high blood pressure has twice the likelihood of developing hypertension later in life compared with someone whose parents don’t have high blood pressure.
Genetic factors account for about 50% of the risk of developing high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). The remainder of the risk comes from environmental factors (10 to 20%) such as smoking, being overweight or obese and having diabetes.
Several genetic changes can contribute to high blood pressure:
- A mutation in one of several genes that control your body’s response to salt and water (the renin-angiotensin system) can cause your arteries to constrict when they shouldn’t. This causes an increase in blood pressure.
- A variation in a gene called ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) may affect how well your kidneys remove excess salt from your body. As a result, they produce too much angiotensin II, causing increased constriction of your arteries and elevated blood pressure.
Prevention tips for genetics high blood pressure
If someone in your family has hypertension, then you are likely to develop it too sooner or later in your life. But there is one way that can help you avert the possibility of being hypertensive. If you’re wondering “how to control hereditary high blood pressure”, take these steps:
- Reduce salt intake by avoiding processed foods and adding less salt when cooking food at home (shaking off excess salt from canned products before opening them can help).
- Maintain a healthy weight through exercise and diet changes (cutting down on fatty foods).
- Drink plenty of water each day (around 2 litres) — this helps keep sodium levels balanced in your body, which may lower your risk of developing hypertension later on in life.
- Stay away from tobacco, alcohol, caffeine and excessive salt intake-this ensures you’re taking care of your heart.
Having a family history of high blood pressure can have adverse health consequences. If you think you may be at risk for hypertension—whether it’s due to having parents with the condition or due to other, unrelated factors—you should seek out a healthcare professional and monitor your blood pressure regularly.
Connect with an expert for Hypertension management
High blood pressure is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people every year. Although there are steps that one can take to keep their blood pressure in check, there is no cure for this condition. The best way to manage hypertension is to follow your doctor’s instructions diligently, monitor BP regularly, and lead a healthy lifestyle. To connect with expert doctors and read insightful content on hypertension, visit BP in Control.
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