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Yes, high blood pressure (hypertension) does have a genetic component.

Researchers found a specific gene, "...an extra-long form of a gene called DRD4", and found that people with this gene had "...blood pressure was higher and more likely to rise with age...".

According to the American Heart Association, "...about one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, but because there are no symptoms, nearly one-third of these people don't know they have it."

You can actually learn what your personal risk is for high blood pressure High Blood Pressure Risk Calculator (you are asked your age, height, weight, gender, systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings).

You can visit the Go Red for Women Campaign to learn how to control for your risk factors.

Since you know that you have a family history of high blood pressure (HBP), what is even more important is that YOU have been diagnosed with HBP. I'm sorry that you have HBP, but there are many things you can do to control it...and we're here to help!

If you'd like to receive tips on how to manage your blood pressure, you can sign up for the American Heart Association's monthly e-mail.

Find out what Risk Factors you Can Control and How to Reduce HBP.

Do you know your current risk factors that you CAN control?
- Do you currently smoke? Are you overweight? Do you exercise? Do you eat healthy fruits and vegetables?

Have you tried any of these strategies for reducing your HBP?
- Eat foods that are low saturated fat, cholesterol and salt. There are some great ways to do this, which include adding more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Drink skim milk instead of full-fat. Eat more fish, beans, chicken, etc. instead of red meat. Make (or order) omelets with egg whites instead of entire egg (yolk has cholesterol). Use other spices instead of salt.
- Limit alcohol
- Did you doctor prescribe any high blood pressure medicine?
- How active are you? What do you enjoy that is considered physical activity?

Please write back and tell us more about what you are currently doing to control for the risk factors that are changeable (family history, gender, race, etc, are not changeable), and how we can help you.

February 15, 2009 - 7:20pm


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