Public Release: 

Low levels of hormone in African-Americans may increase hypertension

Natriuretic peptide 'deficiency' could predispose population to cardiovascular risk

American College of Cardiology

Although hypertension is more common in African-Americans, they have significantly lower levels of a hormone produced in response to cardiac stress than white and Hispanic individuals, a finding that may indicate a target for prevention or treatment of heart disease, according to a study published today in JACC: Heart Failure.

Using data from the Dallas Heart Study, researchers assessed 3,148 patients and examined the association between race and ethnicity and levels of natriuretic peptides -- which are hormones produced in response to increased cardiac wall stress common in conditions like hypertension and heart failure.

African-Americans made up 51 percent of the study population and had the highest prevalence of hypertension at 41 percent. Despite the higher rate of hypertension among African-Americans, low natriuretic peptide levels were found more than twice as often compared to White individuals.

Researchers suggest that some African-American individuals may have a relative natriuretic peptide deficiency that predisposes to salt retention, hypertension, and cardiovascular risk. Consequently, natriuretic peptide deficiency may represent a target for prevention and treatment of heart disease.

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The American College of Cardiology is a 49,000-member medical society that is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular team. The mission of the College is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research, and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more information, visit http://www.acc.org.

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