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High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure Inheritance

03/15/2001

Question:

How is High Blood Pressure inherited? Is it a recessive autosomal disease or a dominant autosomal disease?

Answer:

There is a genetic component to high blood pressure. That means that part of a person`s risk of developing high blood pressure is inherited. If a person has one parent with high blood pressure, the risk of developing it is greater than if both parents have normal blood pressure. The risk is even greater if both parents are hypertensive.

There are at least 20 different genes involved in setting a person`s blood pressure. Hypertension develops depending on the composition of this genetic `mix`. It is therefore not possible to classify hypertension as a dominant or recessive disease. About half of the total risk to develop high blood pressure is due to genes.

The other half of a person`s risk for hypertension is caused by the environment. The most important environmental influences are diet, salt intake, body weight, stress and level of exercise. Excessive alcohol intake can also raise blood pressure.

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Response by:

Max C Reif, MD Max C Reif, MD
Professor of Medicine
Director of Hypertension Section
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati