High blood pressure is associated with cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke. For the vast majority of cases of high blood pressure, there is no known cause. The condition is often associated with reduced flow of blood through small blood vessels in the skin and other parts of the body, a symptom which can get progressively worse if the hypertension is not treated. Studies have shown that the skin can actually help control blood pressure and using a certain product could help lower your levels.
Skin plays a surprising role in helping regulate blood pressure and heart rate, according to scientists.
The discovery was made with mice; however, researchers believe it is likely to be true with humans too.
The study, which was published in the open access journal eLife, researchers discovered that skin, the largest organ covering two square meters in humans, helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate in response to changes in the amount of oxygen available in the environment.
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Science Direct added: “To investigate what role the skin plays in the flow of blood through small vessels, a team of researchers from Cambridge and Sweden exposed mice to low-oxygen conditions.
“These mice had been genetically modified so that they are unable to produce certain HIF proteins in the skin.
“Researchers discovered that skin plays an important role in helping to control blood pressure.”
Professor Randall Johnson from the Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge said: “Most research in these areas tends to look at the role played by organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys; and so we know very little about what role other tissue and organs play.
“Our study was set up to understand the feedback loop between skin and the cardiovascular system.
“By working with mice, we were able to manipulate key genes involved in this loop.”
“These findings suggest that our skin’s response to low levels of oxygen may have substantial effects on how the heart pumps blood around the body,” adds first author Dr Andrew Cowburn, also from Cambridge.
“Low oxygen levels — whether temporary or sustained — are common and can be related to our natural environment or to factors such as smoking and obesity.
“We hope that our study will help us better understand how the body’s response to such conditions may increase our risk of — or even cause — hypertension.”
How to improve the skin and lower your blood pressure reading
Magnesium cream rubbed into the skin could be used as an alternative to medication to help combat high blood pressure and therefore lower readings, a study has found.
Lindsy Kass, of the University of Hertfordshire, said: “Many people do not like taking pills or have difficulty swallowing them.
“But a cream could be used easily on a daily basis – for example by rubbing it into the skin after showering.
“Low magnesium intake has been shown to cause many health problems, including high blood pressure and cardiovascular issues, so these creams could potentially be a good way to contribute to the increase in magnesium levels and therefore help in reducing the associated health problems.”
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