Blood pressure breakthrough could lead to a vaccine 22



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High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that affects almost four million Australians. Known as hypertension, it is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease and renal failure. And the higher your blood pressure, the greater the risk.

But now researchers from Melbourne’s Monash University say they have uncovered a key trigger of hypertension, which could lead to a new approach with drug treatment – or possibly even a vaccine.

Grant Drummond and a team from Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute have identified overactive B cells as a cause of hypertension, according to The Australian, which confirms what the health field has suspected for a long time – that hypertension is actually an autoimmune disease.

The good news is that these “B cells” are much more responsive to medication.

“They are commonly targeted in the treatment of auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus,” said Dr Drummond.

He added that many people with hypertension could not control their high blood pressure with the drugs currently in use.

“One in five patients just don’t respond, even if you put them on four different medications. This idea that hypertension is an auto-immune disease really improves our understanding of the mechanisms involved. It opens up treatment strategies that are already used for auto-­immune patients.”

Before you start lashing out on salt and quit the exercise campaign, the team also found that high salt intake and stress make B cells generate excess antibodies, which lodge themselves in blood vessel walls, inflaming and stiffening them.

The researchers found they could normalise blood pressure in mice by blocking the activity of B cells, effectively reversing the condition

Experiments revealed that mice bred without mature B cells did not develop hypertension.

The team believes drugs used to treat arthritis and lupus could be “repurposed” as a blood pressure medication.

Do you suffer from hypertension? How do you feel about these findings? 

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  1. Have suffered from it for 35 years. Started when expecting my child. Would love a breakthrough, not just for me, but for my son who now has hypertension also.

  2. Have had hypertension for many years and really struggled with medication. Either allergic or doesn’t work and now have heart problems. Chat a wonderful relief this would be and I would be first in line for human trials…where do I sign up!!!! Lol

  3. Great news – have had hypertension since 38 am now 64 and had a stroke at 50 – would love to be part of a trial

  4. Don’t ever ever take a blood pressure medication called ramipril / the side effects can be so severe

    2 REPLY
    • My husband has been on that drug for years. What are the side effects? He does have some unexplained issues

    • I really agree The side effects from Ramipril for me were so bad.. dizzyness a very dry cough that took months to go even though I had stop taking that drug….

  5. Interesting because my mum does all the right things health wise depriving herself of everything weighs in at 50kg and still has fluctuating BP. So makes sense

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