-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Genetics may help explain
the increased risk for high blood pressure among people of African
descent, according to U.S. researchers.
The study authors said a gene on chromosome 5 appears to
influence the production of the sodium-regulating hormone
For this study, the researchers analyzed genetic data from
families on the Caribbean island of Tobago (where the population
has about 94 percent African ancestry) and found that genetics
account for 34 percent of individual variations in plasma
aldosterone concentration and about 25 percent of variation in
systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Levels of aldosterone tend to be high in people of African
descent, the study authors noted.
"Aldosterone was very important to their early ancestors in the arid climate of Africa," study co-author J. Howard Pratt, of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, said in a news release from the American Heart Association (AHA). "Dietary intake of sodium in today's world is much higher, and there may not be the need for the amount of aldosterone produced, leading to a level of sodium balance that places individuals at risk for hypertension."
The study was to be presented Thursday at the AHA's Scientific
Sessions on high blood pressure.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
high blood pressure.
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