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 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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