Resistant high blood pressure: Gut bacteria may be to blame
47% of adults in the United States have hypertension, or high blood pressure. The International Society of Hypertension defines hypertension as blood pressure that is consistently higher than 140 over 90 mm Hg.
People with hypertension are at higher risk of health complications, including heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Hypertension can be controlled by medication, diet, and exercise. However, the CDC states that only 24% of people with hypertension have their condition under control.
Resistant hypertension is blood pressure that remains above 140/90 mm Hg despite treatment with three antihypertensive medications of different classes at the best-tolerated doses, one of which must be a diuretic.
Doctors currently treat resistant hypertension by changing medication, or adding extra medications to those that are not working. Some people give up their medication because of increased side effects from multiple treatments. Others remain hypertensive despite thorough medical management.
Researchers looked at the gut microbiome of rats. They found that a common gut bacterium can interfere with the action of some ACE inhibitors.
ACE inhibitors, which include Lotensin (benazepril), Monopril (fosinopril), and Accupril (quinapril), are some of the most commonly used treatments for hypertension.
This contributes to the growing data that our gut microbes are crucial to how effectively most common drugs work, and confirms similar studies with antidepressant medication.
It’s not just medications that may be affected by gut microbes. In a recent study, they found that gut microbes can influence blood pressure in typical populations.
The authors are undertaking further experiments with different antihypertensives and other types of gut bacteria to further explore the interactions between gut microbiota and blood pressure medications.
A better understanding of the relationship between gut microbes and drug efficacy could lead to new treatment approaches for people who don’t respond to blood pressure medication. This could include new drugs or modulating gut microbiota with probiotics, antibiotics, and other methods.
Lang, Katharine. “High Blood Pressure: Gut Bacteria May Contribute to Drug Resistance.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/resistant-high-blood-pressure-gut-bacteria-may-be-to-blame.