Why do we develop high blood pressure?

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Abnormally high blood pressure, or hypertension, may be related to changes in brain activity and blood flow early in life. That's according to a study conducted on a rat model of high blood pressure, published in Experimental Physiology.

In 90-95 percent of people, high blood pressure has no identifiable cause, yet it is a risk factor for diseases of the brain, kidneys, heart, eyes, and other parts of the body. Although we know a lot about how blood pressure is regulated, the cause is still a mystery.

The group of researchers at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Russia investigated physiological changes in a rat model called ISIAH, short for inherited stress-induced arterial hypertension. These rats develop high blood pressure at four to six weeks of age, and this is sustained throughout their lifetime.

The researchers compared the high blood pressure rats to a control group with . As the group aged, the researchers observed changes in rates of blood flow in certain arteries. They also noted changes in brain activity, specifically a decrease in the prefrontal cortex and an increase in the hypothalamus that did not occur in the group of rats with normal blood pressure.

This demonstrates a link between hypertension and changes in and . The researchers suggest that hypertension could be caused by these changes taking place early in life. A clearer understanding of this process could help us prevent this condition.

Alisa Seryapina, first author of the study, explained:

'The study of early physiological changes in ISIAH rats may help clarify the cause of high . Understanding this could help us prevent the disease early on.'


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More information: A.A. Seryapina et al, Stress-sensitive arterial hypertension, hemodynamic changes and brain metabolites in hypertensive ISIAH rats: MRI investigation, Experimental Physiology (2017). DOI: 10.1113/EP086064
Citation: Why do we develop high blood pressure? (2017, March 9) retrieved 21 May 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-03-high-blood-pressure.html
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Mar 10, 2017
Question: Any research into the possible connection of reduced blood flow in the legs due to overuse injury and muscle tension affecting the arterial BP sensors near the kidneys?

This may result in the body's response to increase BP to provide the lower body with more blood flow, as in the case of fight or flight - which would in years past be very short term - but in the case of muscle tension/edema would likely become a chronic condition.


Mar 12, 2017
For myself, the cause of hypertension became clearly obvious. After 20 years of taking blood pressure medicine to control my 160/90 blood pressure, I switched to a Whole Food Plant Based diet (essentially the Ornish diet) and withing a month had to discontinue those meds because my blood pressure was too low. Today, 3 years later without any blood pressure medication, it is consistently around 115/75.

So, for me, it is clearly lifestyle (diet) related. But, it is not just me: many who start this diet report the same effect: they no longer have to take their blood pressure medication.

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