Hypertension is a major health problem that when left untreated can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. African Americans are more likely to develop high blood pressure and develop it earlier in life than Caucasians. While the reasons for the heightened risk in African Americans remain largely unknown, new evidence may provide some insight.
Dr. TanYa Gwathmey from the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center studies the factors that contribute to having high blood pressure, particularly in African Americans. Her group found that there are racial differences in the activity of enzymes that make or breakdown a major regulator of blood pressure. And her results correlate with the bias of African Americans being more at risk.
During this week’s Podcast, Dr. Gwathmey talks about angiotensins and the roles they play in blood pressure regulation. She discusses her team’s recent findings about biochemical differences that affect blood pressure in Caucasians and African Americans and how they correlated their discovery with the observation that African Americans are indeed at higher risk for developing hypertension.
Dr. Gwathmey also goes on to point out how these findings might be used to predict, as early as possible, the risk for developing high blood pressure.