"Research shows that two-thirds of patients' high blood pressure is not controlled despite the best efforts of their doctors. That is terrible," said Dr. Gregory Harshfield, director of the Georgia Prevention Institute at the Medical College of Georgia.
"We are trying to identify the mechanisms through which blood pressure is regulated under normal everyday conditions - which is what stress is - and take that information back to the clinic to better determine what sort of therapy is going to be most effective at treating your blood pressure or your grandfather's," he added.
Not being able to effectively excrete sodium raises blood pressure by increasing the body's fluid volume.
Now, researchers are conducting studies on animal models and young adults to learn more about what factors like genes, stress and obesity contribute to the problem.
"Our ultimate goal, of course, is prevention. But when we can't do that, we want to give physicians ways to determine precisely the cause or causes of your hypertension and optimal ways to target your disease," Harshfield said.