Common Virus May Cause High Blood Pressure

A common virus may be the root of the most frequently occurring type of hypertension.

A common virus may be the root of the most frequently occurring type of hypertension, according to a recent Chinese study.

"Increased blood pressure is the leading preventable risk factor for premature mortality in the Chinese general population," the authors wrote.

The study, performed by researchers from Beijing Chaoyang Hospital's cardiology centre, has yielded the first evidence of a connection between the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and essential hypertension, or high blood pressure.

For the most part, essential hypertension has been linked to an unhealthy lifestyle and genetic predisposition, but the researchers of this study insist that hypertension is in some way connected to HCMV.

HCMV infects the majority of human beings at some point over the course of their lives, but usually, no symptoms are caused by the virus, so it goes unnoticed.

Yang Xinchun, one of the study’s authors, reported that, while it is still "too early" to say definitively whether a vaccine for HCMV will be created due to his research, these results may pave the way toward the development of a vaccine to control or prevent high blood pressure.

"If we can get conclusive evidence of the relationship, we can get better medical vaccines and remedies for hypertension," said Yang, head of the cardiology centre.

Yang continued to say that this research, however, is "the first time someone managed to find this relationship” and the study results must “undergo more tests with a wider scope of patients.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), roughly one billion people around the world suffer from high blood pressure, counting more than 200 million Chinese citizens.

This study was published in the medical journal Circulation.