Genetic Studies Reveals New Clues to Hereditary High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. We know that half the risk of developing high blood pressure is due to inherited factors, but until recently we only understood two percent of the genetic reasons for that risk.

But researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital are now a step closer to understanding the genetic underpinnings of high blood pressure after two multi-institutional studies identified 44 new gene sites associated with the condition.

The findings suggest that new treatments targeting factors other than salt excretion—the typical strategy for controlling high blood pressure—could help with the condition. Christopher Newton-Cheh, MD, MPH, was senior author of the two studies that reported these findings.

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