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Repairing blood pressure damage.

Repairing blood pressure damage

In patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure, the excessive force of their pumping blood can enlarge the heart and thicken vessel walls, eventually causing heart and kidney disease. Although many drugs lower blood pressure itself, scientists have long remained uncertain whether these drugs also reverse hypertension-induced structural damage. Now, new findings "strongly indicate" that long-term anti-hypertensive treatment can indeed improve a damaged circulatory system, say Swedish scientists.

Seven years of antihypertensive drug therapy significantly improved heart, blood vessel and kidney functions in patients at Sahlgrenska Hospital in Gothenburg, researchers report in the May 6 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION. They studied 13 men with high blood pressure and 37 with normal blood pressure, using a variety of techniques to measure pressure and volume of blood in the heart, as well as blood flow in the arms and kidneys.

The hypertensive men and many of the normal control were first tested at age 49 - when those with high blood pressure began beta blocker drug treatment - and again seven years later. The difference in average blood pressure between the two groups dropped from 51 percent to 7 percent during the study period. Although they did not shrink to normal size, the enlarged left ventricles of the hypertensives' hearts did become significantly smaller over the seven-year period, say the authors. Protein excretion, a sign of kidney malfunction, also dropped dramatically in the treated patients.
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Title Annotation:anti-hypertensive drugs can improve damaged circulatory system
Author:Edwards, Diane D.
Publication:Science News
Date:May 7, 1988
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