A major breakthrough is being recorded for the treatment of High blood pressure. Strong indications are that the first effective single pill to combat high blood pressure could soon be developed, scientists have revealed.
It has been learnt that British researchers have made a major breakthrough by discovering the source of a gas that regulates blood pressure.
By proving a link between the brain and hypertension experts say it is possible to create a new generation of drugs to stop the potentially fatal condition.
For millions it could mean the end to a daily cocktail of tablets taken in combination to regulate blood flow.
Ajay Shah, Professor of Cardiology at King’s College, London, said: “Our discovery will fundamentally change the way we view the regulation of blood pressure.
“Establishing that nerves releasing nitric oxide influence blood pressure provides a new target for drugs and could eventually lead to more effective treatments for patients.”
World first research revealed nitric oxide, key to regulating blood pressure, is made by an enzyme influenced by activity in the brain, explaining why stress may play a role in hypertension.
They found nitric oxide is formed in nerve endings rather than in the walls of blood vessels as previously thought.
The higher the nitric oxide levels, the lower the blood pressure.
Their ground breaking discovery came after healthy humans were given a drug that inhibited the enzyme that forms nitric oxide in nerve endings, leading to a significant increase in the force opposing blood flow, raising blood pressure.
Experts think their discovery could lead to a treatment that mimics nitric oxide – potentially a single potent drug that boosts levels to successfully dilate blood vessels.
Scientists have discovered that nitric oxide that regulates blood pressure is formed in nerves
Our discovery will fundamentally change the way we view the regulation of blood pressure
Phil Chowienczyk, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at King’s, said: “This link between release of nitric oxide from nerves and blood pressure is fascinating because it provides new insight into how blood pressure is controlled by the brain and into how mental health might affect blood pressure.
“High blood pressure is a common problem and is treated with a variety of drugs which, although effective, often need to be taken in combination.”
“Ultimately this could lead a single new drug to lower blood pressure.”
High blood puts extra strain on blood vessels, the heart and other vital organs like the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Unchecked it can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, arterial disease, aneurysms, kidney disease and vascular dementia.
Many sufferers take a combination of pills to relax and widen blood vessels, flush excess water and salt from the body or make the heart beat more slowly and with less force.
Medical conditions caused by high blood pressureWed, September 7, 2016There are several life threatening medical conditions and diseases caused by high blood pressure. Often they do not have any symptoms so it is a good idea to regularly check your blood pressure and keep it under control.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Understanding how blood pressure is regulated is crucial if we hope to develop new potential treatments to lower it.
“This study adds a very unexpected piece to the puzzle of blood pressure regulation.
“While there are already many treatments for high blood pressure, they are not always effective.
“These results provide hope of new treatments for people with poorly controlled high blood pressure, which could prove crucial in preventing a heart attack or stroke.”
It comes as a separate study found a fifth of patients with hard to control high blood pressure were not taking their prescribed pills.
A further fifth only take some while a fifth take all the medicines prescribed to them, according to the University Medical Centre Utrecht.
Dr Peter Blankestijn, Professor of nephrology and hypertension, said: “People mistakenly thought to have resistant hypertension – which is high blood pressure despite taking three or more medications – end up seeing specialists and undergoing extra tests because we don’t understand why they are so difficult to treat.
“At a minimum, be open and honest and tell your physician if you don’t want to take your pills for any reason.”
High blood pressure: The health condition can put a strain on vital organsSufferers are often prescribed a variety of drugs, like beta-blockers, to regulate blood pressure to stop heart attacks, strokes and vascular dementia.
How do you read blood pressure?
In the UK a third of adults suffer from high blood pressure which is recorded with two numbers.
The systolic pressure [higher number] is influenced by the force with which your heart pumps blood around your body.
The diastolic pressure [lower number] is determined by resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. They are measured in millimetres of mercury [mmHg].
The results provide hope for those who suffer from poorly controlled high blood pressure
Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg while high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher.
All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.
The NHS recommends sufferers slash salt intake, cut down on alcohol and caffeine, quit smoking, exercise, lose weight and get at least six hours sleep a night.
The role of nitric oxide in regulating blood pressure was first discovered by American pharmacologists and earned them the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1998.
They were the first to find it relaxes narrowed blood vessels, increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to vital organs.
The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and carried out at the NIHR Biomedical Medical Research Centre at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College, London.
The results were published in the journal Hypertension.