Washington: Researchers have tracked down more than 16 new gene regions that play an important role in the risk of having high blood pressure and subsequent heart disease.
The discovery is an important step towards better diagnosis and treatment.
In their latest study, the researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg analysed more than 2.5 million DNA variations from more than 200,000 Europeans.
The results revealed 16 previously unknown genetic regions with interesting genes that regulate the body’s blood pressure – both the lower level when the heart expands (diastolic) and the upper level when the heart contracts (systolic).
With the help of these newly discovered genetic variations, the researchers have constructed genetic risk groups to help predict the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
“We’ve been able to classify individuals on the basis of how many risk variants for hypertension they have in their genes,” said Fredrik Nyberg, a researcher from the Sahlgrenska Academy working on the project.
The study has been published in the journal Nature.