In the continuing effort to tie disease risks to specific genes, your hypertension gene has been uncovered at the University of Maryland. (Picture from EverythingCU, a credit union blog.)
It's called STK39, and it is located on chromosome number two. Its job is to produce a protein which helps regulate how the kidneys process salt.
What comes next? Yen-Pei Christy Chang explains:
"We want to determine how people with different variations of this gene respond to diuretics and other medications, or to lifestyle changes, such as reducing the amount of salt in their diet.
It's ironic but the discovery of this gene actually owes a lot to the Amish. Some 542 Old Order Amish in Lancaster County, Penn. had their genes scanned and the findings were confirmed both in other Amish and other Caucasians.
Why Amish? They're homogenous, and they share a very similar lifestyle. If you're thinking of joining to lower your blood pressure, they are no more or less hypertensive than other white folks.
This is good to know because we all have relatives who say our hypertension comes from our rush-rush lifestyle, that if we'd just relax and get close to the Earth we'd feel better. Like the Amish?
Researchers said some of those Amish studied learned they had hypertension as a result of the study and began treatment. Sad to think of some giving up that delicious Amish food. Maybe we'll get a low salt Amish cookbook out of it.