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Genetics of Hypertension
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1  West Coast University, Miami


Review of the literature helped to establish hypertension as a multifactorial disease, meaning that malfunctions in certain genes predispose individuals to developing the condition but the genes are not particularly dominant and the expression of the final phenotype is heavily influenced by the patient’s lifestyle and environment. There is also a disparity concerning the prevalence of chronic illness between individuals of a lower and higher socioeconomic status. It has been shown that people coming from low socioeconomic backgrounds are disadvantaged in terms of disease management. In this study, 30 Zucker rats were used in the first trials of a medication for patients genetically predisposed to hypertension who struggle to manage their condition. The test subjects were separated into 3 groups: a control group who merely got fed twice a day, group 2 who got fed twice a day and received the medication with their first meal, and group 3 who were fed twice a day and received the medication with both meals. The results showed that the test subjects that received the lower dosage did have a decrease in blood pressure although it was slower and less stable compared to the rats that received the higher dosage. Studies must still be conducted although the medication has been deemed safe enough to continue on to the next phase: non-human primates. The hope is that within 5 years, through government assistance such as grants, the medication will be distributed throughout community health centers for the at-risk patient base.

Keywords: hypertension, socioeconomic status, disease management, Zucker rats