Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Does CMV Cause Hypertension?

CMV (cytomegalovirus) is a common virus that infects people here in the U.S. According to the CDC, 50% and 80% of adults are infected with CMV by the age of 40. Reuters is reporting that a study (that involved mice, not people) found that CMV infection causes high blood pressure or hypertension. The theory is that CMV infection may cause persistent inflammation of the blood vessels, predisposing them to conditions like atherosclerosis. The theory makes sense if you consider the fact that many virus infections cause chronic changes that even lead to cancer (like HPV and cervical cancer). So, if chronic vascular inflammation due to CMV is a common cause of hypertension in adults, does this mean that hypertension can be "cured" in some cases with antiviral therapy? Image source: Reuters

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