Smokers may be at a higher risk for developing hypertension, and an overactive response to normal drops in blood pressure may help explain why, according to researchers.
“The human body has a buffering system that continuously monitors and maintains a healthy blood pressure,” said Dr. Lawrence Sinoway, director of Penn State Heart and Vascular Institute. “If blood pressure drops, a response called muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) is triggered to bring blood pressure back up to normal levels.”
An additional system — called the baroreflex — helps correct if blood pressure gets too high, added Sinoway, who is also director of the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute. The study used the institute's Clinical Research Center.