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High Blood Pressure Linked To Common Virus

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High Blood Pressure Linked To Common Virus

CMV infection - source: gov

(Best Syndication News) Scientists at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston say that a common virus may cause high blood pressure. It wasn’t that long ago when scientists discovered that a common bacterium, H. pylori, caused most stomach ulcers. That changed everything and now most ulcers can be cured with antibiotics. This new finding may change the way we treat hypertension.

Mice that were infected with the cytomegalovirus (CMV or HCMV) developed high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). The human CMV is a common virus usually associated with the salivary glands, but can be found throughout the body. Transmission of HCMV occurs from person to person through bodily fluids.

According to lead researcher Dr. Clyde Crumpacker, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, this could be of immense importance. CMV is a widespread virus infecting up to 99 percent of the adult world population. It has already been associated with serious birth defects.

The virus along with the associated diseases may be fought with antiviral therapy or eradicated with vaccinations. The virus may cause vascular injury, according to the background information. The injured blood vessels may cause the blood pressure to rise.

Surgeons have noticed a connection between the virus and heart disease. Heart transplant patients with CMV were more likely to have artery blockages. Now the mice studies confirm the relationship.

The cause of most high blood pressure cases was unknown. This could be the missing factor. "It is virtually certain that cytomegalovirus infection makes at least some contribution to cardiovascular disease in people," said Dr. Mark R. Schleiss who holds the American Legion chair of pediatric infectious disease at the University of Minnesota. Other risk factors include smoking and obesity.

By Dan Wilson

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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