How the body regulates blood pressure in response to daily stress is the focus of a study geared toward helping people whose pressure is out of control.
"Research shows that two-thirds of patients' high blood pressure is not controlled despite the best efforts of their doctors. That is terrible," says Dr. Gregory Harshfield, director of the Georgia Prevention Institute at the Medical College of Georgia.
"We are trying to identify the mechanisms through which blood pressure is regulated under normal everyday conditions which is what stress is and take that information back to the clinic to better determine what sort of therapy is going to be most effective at treating your blood pressure or your grandfather's."
More than a dozen researchers have teamed up to do parallel studies in animal models and young adults to learn more about what factors like genes, stress and obesity contribute, their synergy and novel ways to control them.
"This research will give us information that allows us to identify what treatment is going to be effective in what individual by genotype, by obesity and other factors. What kind of treatment is going to be effective at keeping an individual's blood pressure down or maybe preventing it from ever getting high," says Dr. Harshfield, principal investigator on the $10.6 million Program Project grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. 72 million Americans 1 in 3 are hypertensive, according to the NHLBI.
Studies will explore fundamentals such as why about 30 percent of young healthy blacks and 15 percent of whites can't effectively excrete sodium, a problem that raises blood pressure by increasing the body's fluid volume. "We think there is a defect in their kidneys, in the normal mechanisms that allow them to excrete salt," said Dr. David Pollock, renal physiologist at MCG's Vascular Biology Center and a program project lead
|Contact: Toni Baker|
Medical College of Georgia