Two genetic mutations that may be related to hypertension have been discovered by researchers at Yale, the university announced.
In a study set to be released in the upcoming edition of the journal Science, the researchers relay their findings of the mutations, which may be the direct cause of the illness in up to a third of high blood pressure patients, they said.
Researchers looked at genes from tumors found in the adrenal glands of 5 to 10 percent of patients who have a very severe form of hypertension. The tumors produce a hormone called aldosterone, which contributes to the hypertension. Therefore, by extracting the tumors, patients can be cured, according to researchers.
When the scientists looked at DNA from the tumors and compared it with the patient's regular DNA, they found two mutations of a certain gene in 8 out of 22 of the patients they tested. After further investigation, researchers say they found that the mutation makes a genetic channel, usually responsible for conducting potassium, to conduct sodium as well.
This discovery may help doctors understand the cause of hypertension, which carries a high risk of cardiac death and may result in high health and life insurance premiums for those afflicted with the illness.