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Question:

Can I get genetic testing for high blood pressure?

I am interested in being tested for the gene that can cause high blood pressure. I am 49 yrs, female, who developed symptoms of weakness, palpitations, burning skin and high blood pressure a few months ago. The only thing that was different for me was that I received an injection of Depo-Medrol for occipital neuralgia. My lipid panel is good and a test for metanephrines was normal. My doctor does not know about a gene affecting blood pressure and norepinephrine.

Please advise me as to where I can get genetic testing and evaluation. Thank you. 

submitted by Cheri from College Station, Texas on 1/1/2013

Answer:

by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Michael J. Mihalick, MD  

Michael J. Mihalick, MDDear Cheri:This answer will be short because, although the human genome has been completely mapped, we are still a long way from performing the test you describe. Unlike fruit flies and pea plants, simple Mendelian inheritance is the exception rather than the rule. It turns out that the genetic basis of most conditions involves a complex and  poorly understood interaction of multiple genes. Most genetic tests that are currently available for medical conditions are incomplete and, if negative, are not helpful. The current state of our knowledge is analogous to having the Oxford Dictionary without a way to look up a specific word. Please consult with your doctor about appropriate treatment for your high blood pressure.  

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Updated January 2013
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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