Too Much Lead May Increase Your Risk of Resistant Hypertension

Too Much Lead May Increase Your Risk of Resistant Hypertension

You can measure the amount of lead deposited in the outer layer of shin bone in order to calculate the total amount. This collection of lead in the body can lead to a greater risk of having high blood pressure, something which is hard to treat.

These findings are present in the study of 475 veterans with hypertension appearing in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

These findings helped the scientists expand their knowledge about how lead can affect blood pressure management. It also led them to decide about new treatment regimens for high blood pressures

Cortical bone refers to the hard outer part of your bone. The recent findings suggest that it is the site where lead starts building up, mostly in the tibial cortex. This accumulation could serve as a biomarker for developing high blood pressure which is hard to treat.

The Association between Resistant Hypertension and Lead in Your Body

Resistant hypertension refers to the high blood pressure that does not respond to any measures meant to reduce it. These measures include taking appropriate medicines and making lifestyle changes.

The American Heart Association defines resistant hypertension as the blood pressure that remains above the goal in their guideline. This is even after you try three or more different classes of drugs in order to reduce it.

Those people who have to take four or more drugs belonging to different classes in order to lower their blood pressure are also the same. The doctors consider them to be suffering from resistant hypertension as well.

In the current study, Dr. Park, as well as his colleges, used studies that found associations between raised blood pressure and lead quantities. They suggested that lead may be an important factor in causing cardiovascular deaths.

Other scientists proposed different biological mechanisms through which lead may cause hypertension. Some of them include disruption of blood vessel regulation and the initiation of atherosclerosis.

However, none of these studies attempted to assess the link between the cumulative exposure to lead and the risk of resistant hypertension.

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So, the researchers set out to confirm their theory about the use of lead as a biomarker for cumulative lead exposure. They also struggled to find if this lead exposure influenced the initiation of resistant hypertension.

Shin Bone Lead Causes Resistance Risk

The team collected data from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. This study used 475 white men having high blood pressures.

The dataset included blood pressure values and blood pressure medicines. It also included the levels of lead in the blood, shin bones of tibia and kneecaps or patella. Of the total participants, 97 met the criteria set for resistant hypertension.

The scientists made adjustments for race, age, education, income, smoking, weight, and other socioeconomic, demographic and lifestyle factors. The analysis revealed a significant relationship between the buildup of lead in shin bone and the risk of resistant hypertension.

Every 15 micrograms of lead per gram of tibial bone linked to a 19 percent increase in the risk of resistant hypertension.

The research team did not find any such significant links for lead buildup in blood or kneecap.

The scientists say that more research is essential to confirm these results, mainly because of its limitations. One of such limitations was the use of men only, most of which were white.

The team also said that resistant hypertension in men could have been due to the use of over-the-counter drugs. It could also be because of not taking their drugs regularly.

Other factors that may affect the results include any variation in the measurement of blood pressure. This is basically due to the differences in doctors’ offices.


Nancy Walker

Nancy holds a Medicine degree and a Masters of Science MS in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MS-IDGH) from Tufts University. She worked as a lecturer for three years before she turned towards medical writing. Her area of interest are infectious diseases; causes, mechanism, diagnosis, treatments and prevention strategies. Most of her writings ensure an easy understanding of uncommon diseases.

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