Vol 20, No 1 (2016)
Review paper
Published online: 2016-03-31

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Role of autonomic nervous system in the pathomechanism of hypertension

Michał Zamojski, Zbigniew Dubielski, Bartosz Wiechecki, Olga Możeńska, Jan Gieraltowski, Dariusz Artur Kosior
DOI: 10.5603/AH.2016.0005
Arterial Hypertension 2016;20(1):21-25.


Due to high prevalence of hypertension (HT) in worldwide population, all aspects of this disease are studied in order to understand its pathogenesis and the influence on human body, as well as in order to find proper treatment. Impaired balance of autonomic nervous system (ANS) is taken into account as one of the main causes elevating blood pressure (BP). It seems that over-activation of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is the most important factor in pathogenesis of HT. There are some methods which allow us to measure the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity. Some of them are described below and the influence of impaired ANS balance on HT development is presented. Many different, natural and pathologic factors can cause SNS response, so the measurement of the sole ANS activity cannot fully answer the question about the pathomechanism underlying HT. In this paper, we present some hypotheses regarding possible mechanisms of the disease progression. In primary HT, impairment of baroreceptors response is considered one of such mechanisms. Another one is the influence of hyperinsulinemia on the activation of SNS in insulin resistant patients. A few other factors are considered, like obesity, salt intake, sodium retention and alcohol intake and they are described briefly in our paper. In secondary hypertension, SNS can be activated indirectly by comorbidities, and this pathomechanism is also discussed.


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