Hypertension – or high blood pressure – affects 20-25% of all adults. If left untreated, this often symptomless disease can lead to life-threatening heart failure, heart attacks and stroke.
Researchers have thought for a number of years that oxidative stress has an important role to play in the progression of hypertension to more serious disease states. But they haven’t been able to prove it….until now.
This study, published in the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology measured various markers of oxidative stress in 94 patients with hypertension and then followed them for up to four years. At the end of the study, 56 out of the 94 had developed some degree of heart failure.
Not only were the researchers able to show more advanced atherosclerosis (deposits of fats, calcium, and other blood substances in the arteries) in those with heart failure, they also identified significantly higher levels of markers of oxidative stress in people with heart failure compared to those without.
Studies like these pave the way for more targeted treatment options. In this case, an agent to inhibit free radical [link] production within heart tissue may prevent oxidative stress and the progression of hypertension into heart failure.
Szelényi Z, Fazakas A, Szénási G et al. Inflammation and oxidative stress caused by nitric oxide synthase uncoupling might lead to left ventricular diastolic and systolic dysfunction in patients with hypertension. J Geriatr Cardiol. 2015 Jan; 12(1): 1–10. doi: 10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2015.01.001