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Revealed – Hypertension is controlled by rice-grain sized carotid!

Scientists at the University of Bristol have found that removing one carotid body from some patients suffering from hypertension can provide immediate and sustained fall in blood pressure. 

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: A new study has found that the blood pressure level in the body is controlled by the carotid body – a small organ which is the size of a grain of rice located between two major arteries that feed the brain with blood.

 

Scientists at the University of Bristol have found that removing one carotid body from some patients with high blood pressure can provide immediate and sustained fall in blood pressure. This indicates that the carotid bodies appear to be a cause of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

“The falls in blood pressure are impressive - more than pharmacological medication - and demonstrate the potential for targeting the carotid body to treat hypertension,” said Angus Nightingale, researcher at the University of Bristol, England.

The carotid bodies detect the levels of oxygen in blood and when this falls they raise the alarm of a potential emergency by signalling to the brain to increase breathing and blood pressure.

 

“Treating the carotid body is a novel approach and a potential game changer as we believe we are reducing one of the main causes for hypertension in many patients. High blood pressure treatment typically tackles the symptoms targeting the end organs such as the heart, kidneys and blood vessels, and not the causes,” said Julian Paton, researcher at the University of Bristol, England.

The clinical trial demonstrated that the carotid bodies in patients who responded to resection had raised carotid body activity. These patients breathed more at rest and produced exaggerated breathing responses when the oxygen level in their blood was lowered.

“Although this surgical approach to controlling high blood pressure was successful, we don’t think this will be the solution in the long term. We now need to find a drug that dampens down an overactive carotid body and resets the blood pressure thermostat to a normal level,” Nightingale added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified high blood pressure - which triggers heart and renal failure, and strokes - as the single most important risk factor for the global burden of disease and death.

Hypertension is a serious medical condition in which the force of the blood flowing through the blood vessels is too strong.

The research study has been published recently in the Journal of American College of Cardiology: Basic to Translational Science.

(With IANS inputs)

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