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Tuesday, November 21, 2017.

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Nigerian News » Health

HURRAY! New drug to stop high blood pressure is around the corner

High BP, nicknamed the “silent killer”, causes heart attacks, kidney failures, dementia, strokes and sudden deaths, especially during sleep.

Doctors manage the condition with the prescription of a cocktail of drugs, diet and exercise.

An effective treatment has been elusive to scientists — until now.

New findings by the King’s College Hospital in London have established how nitric oxide (NO), which regulates blood pressure, is formed.

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.

Ajay Shah, chairman of cardiology at King’s College Hospital in London, said the magnitude of the effect they found was unexpected.

“We suspected that stopping this enzyme would have some effect, we were surprised at how much influence it has on blood pressure,” he said.

“Our discovery will fundamentally change the way we view the regulation of blood pressure. Establishing that nerves releasing NO influence blood pressure provides a new target for drugs and could eventually lead to more effective treatments for patients.”
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