Hypertension is one of the most common disease states amongst US adults today. About 80 million US adults are currently dealing with high blood pressure, and amongst these 80 million patients, 48% are taking more than one medication and 40% are still seeing no response to their drug therapy. In order to combat this issue, precision medicine and epigenetics have the potential to yield more effective drug treatment for hypertension control by identifying personalized targets for prevention and treatment.
The Precision Medicine Initiative that was introduced in 2011 by the US National Research Council is intended to produce new approaches for detecting, measuring, and analyzing biomedical information. Current work in precision medicine focuses mainly on genome sequences, however, this alone does not account for environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to complex diseases like hypertension. Epigenomics, on the other hand, does pick up on environmental and lifestyle factors it is therefore important to include this study when assessing for more complex pathologies.
The mechanism behind hypertension and responses in blood pressure to different antihypertensives varies between different groups of patients. Blood pressure is not an easily identifiable phenotype because of specific environmental exposures. It is predicted that in the future, precision medicine that also incorporates epigenomics will lead to the development of new drug targets for the treatment of hypertension. Translating these findings into a clinical setting will require a cooperated and coordinated effort.
Precision medicine and epigenomics, in my opinion, is leading to a more efficient community of medicine. This increase in efficiency is going to lead to an overall more positive medication experience for all patients. Despite some of the negative perceptions of genetic sequencing, I believe that is important for the future of medicine to lead more and more individuals towards personalized medication. This will result in less drug therapy problems and faster responses to drug therapy. It is exciting to see personalized medication make its way to more common disease states.