A team of researchers is putting together key pieces of the puzzle of hypertension - stress, genetics, sodium retention and fitness - to define the role of each in a condition that impacts 20 percent of all adults and an even higher percentage of black adults.
The Medical College of Georgia researchers have received a $10 million Program Project grant from the National Institutes of Health to better identify young people at risk and provide them effective prevention programs.
For those who already are hypertensive, the work will enable development of more effective, targeted treatment to avoid the ravages of this risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke and other major organ damage.
"The theme of the grant is that environmental stress, particularly in combination with a genetic predisposition and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors are major contributors to the development of essential hypertension," said Dr. Frank Treiber, director of the Georgia Prevention Institute and principal investigator on the grant that begins July 1.
The diverse team of 17 researchers on the grant combines expertise in long-term studies of the impact of environmental stress on young people with a family history of hypertension with exercise physiologists studying how physical activity impacts the body with basic scientists studying the body's natural mechanisms for regulating blood pressure.
The grant makes it possible to further mesh these studies in humans with those in the laboratory, Dr. Treiber said. Their collective findings already show people with the highest blood pressure changes in response to behavioral stressors in the laboratory tend to be the same people who develop higher levels of resting blood pressure and increased muscle mass of the left ventricle, the heart chamber that pumps blood out to the body. They've also found that blacks tend to be among the biggest responders to the laboratory stressors. They've shown that in some pe
Contact: Toni Baker
Medical College of Georgia