Researchers point to genetics to high blood pressure risk

Dec 21, 2010

A diet with too much salt isn't good for one's health

Consuming a diet rich in sodium isn't good for one's health. Research has shown that too much salt can lead to high blood pressure levels. Foods such as canned soup and packaged deli meat are a couple of common food items that contain a high concentration of sodium.

The American Heart Association says researchers have identified a gene on chromosome 5 which may effect the production of a sodium-regulating hormone in some people.

The hormone, aldosterone, was needed for ancestors living in warmer climates, says study co-author J. Howard Pratt. This may explain how African-Americans are at an increased risk of high blood pressure.

"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."

High blood pressure can put people at risk for a variety of serious health complications. Furthermore, people may end up paying higher life insurance premiums if they have high blood pressure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also says the condition can be costly. It notes more than $76 billion was spent on healthcare and missed work days because of the disease this year alone.

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