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Does a medical history of hypertension influence disclosing genetic testing results of the risk for salt-sensitive hypertension, in primary care?

Authors Okayama M, Takeshima T, Harada M, Ae R, Kajii E

Received 25 April 2016

Accepted for publication 2 June 2016

Published 27 July 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 257—266

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S111337

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Masanobu Okayama,1,2 Taro Takeshima,2 Masanori Harada,3 Ryusuke Ae,4 Eiji Kajii2

1Division of Community Medicine and Medical Education, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Hyogo, 2Division of Community and Family Medicine, Center for Community Medicine, Jichi Medical University, Shimotsuke, Tochigi, 3Department of Support of Rural Medicine, Yamaguchi Grand Medical Center, Hofu, Yamaguchi, 4Division of Public Health, Center for Community Medicine, Jichi Medical University, Shimotsuke, Tochigi, Japan

Objective: Disclosing genetic testing results may contribute to the prevention and management of many common diseases. However, whether the presence of a disease influences these effects is unclear. This study aimed to clarify the difference in the effects of disclosing genetic testing results of the risk for developing salt-sensitive hypertension on the behavioral modifications with respect to salt intake in hypertensive and nonhypertensive patients.
Methods: A cross-sectional study using a self-administered questionnaire was conducted for outpatients aged >20 years (N=2,237) at six primary care clinics and hospitals in Japan. The main factors assessed were medical histories of hypertension, salt preferences, reduced salt intakes, and behavior modifications for reducing salt intake. Behavioral modifications of participants were assessed using their behavior stages before and after disclosure of the hypothetical genetic testing results.
Results: Of the 2,237 participants, 1,644 (73.5%) responded to the survey. Of these respondents, 558 (33.9%) patients were hypertensive and 1,086 (66.1%) were nonhypertensive. After being notified of the result “If with genetic risk”, the nonhypertensive participants were more likely to make positive behavioral modifications compared to the hypertensive patients among all participants and in those aged <65 years (adjusted relative ratio [ad-RR], 1.76; 95% confidence interval, 1.12−2.76 and ad-RR, 1.99; 1.11−3.57, respectively). In contrast, no difference in negative behavioral modifications between hypertensive and nonhypertensive patients was detected after being notified of the result “If without genetic risk” (ad-RR, 1.05; 95% confidence interval, 0.70−1.57).
Conclusion: The behavior of modifying salt intake after disclosure of the genetic testing results differed between hypertensive and nonhypertensive patients. Disclosing a genetic risk for salt-sensitive hypertension was likely to cause nonhypertensive patients, especially those aged <65 years, to improve their behavior regarding salt intake. We conclude that disclosing genetic testing results could help prevent hypertension, and that the doctor should communicate the genetic testing results to those patients with a medical history of hypertension, or those who are at risk of developing hypertension.

Keywords: attitude to health, genetic testing, hypertension, outpatient, sodium-restricted

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