Reader Comments

Post a new comment on this article

Alcohol points to the Aetiology of Hypertension

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:23 GMT

Author: Warren Ward
Position: Research Director
Institution: ActiveSignal Ltd
Submitted Date: March 05, 2008
Published Date: March 6, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

The article makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the aetiology of primary hypertension. Serum osmolality is closely controlled. When alcohol is added to serum, sodium is correspondingly reduced. Perspiration produced by the sweat glands is taken directly from serum. Normal skin microbes are prevented from entering dermal sweat ducts by a combination of ions and antimicrobial peptides. [1] With the ions reduced as a result of serum alcohol, microbes are able to enter the ducts and the immune reaction to their presence blocks the duct. The sweat gland nevertheless continues to output liquid, which spreads through the skin, destroying capillaries in its path, and thus raising blood pressure. Rarefaction of capillaries is well known to be associated with high blood pressure. [2]

Once the alcohol is cleared from serum then the ducts are unblocked by the action of ions and antimicrobial peptides in combination, and the capillaries regenerate. However it is likely that a small proportion of the capillaries do not regenerate, causing a gradual but accelerating loss of skin capillaries over time. [3]

Skin is the largest organ of the body and holds the most blood. Only humans and equines rely on copious thermo-regulatory sweating, and only humans and equines suffer primary hypertension.

The study of the effect of interaction of alcohol and high blood pressure provides good evidence for the aetiology of primary hypertension.

[1] Dorschner RA; Lopez-Garcia B; et al. The mammalian ionic environment dictates microbial susceptibility to antimicrobial defense peptides. FASEB J. 20, 35-42 (2006)

[2] Tarek F. T. Antonios; Donald R. J. Singer; Nirmala D. Markandu; Peter S.
Mortimer; Graham A. MacGregor Structural Skin Capillary Rarefaction in
Essential Hypertension. Hypertension. 1999;33:998-1001

[3] Li Li, Sophie Mac-Mary, Philippe Humbert et al. Age-Related Changes of the Cutaneous Microcirculation in vivo. Gerontology 2006;52:142-153

Competing interests declared: The author is the inventor of the Smart Cell Signal method of body ion control and of the Equiwinner dermal patch for treatment of exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage in horses.