BHF Professor Rhian Touyz specialises in hypertension - also known as high blood pressure. This condition affects around 16 million people in the UK, and increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
There is no single definite cause of high blood pressure. Multiple risk factors can play a part. Over time, if untreated, high blood pressure may enlarge your heart, making it pump less effectively. This could lead to heart failure within a few years.
Professor Touyz talks to Heart Matters about her research into high blood pressure.
Lindsay was diagnosed with having hypertension but with medication and changes to his lifestyle, he leads an active, healthy life.
Professor Touyz moved to the University of Glasgow from Canada to set up a new research programme at the BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre. She spends most of her time on research, but also has an active role in patient care, looking after people at the outpatient hypertension clinic at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow.
She collaborates with other outstanding researchers at Glasgow, including BHF Professor Andrew Baker, as part of the BHF Centre of Research Excellence in Glasgow, which she heads up.
How your donations are funding heart research
We have given three separate grants to Professor Rhian Touyz and her team, at a combined cost of more than £2.75 million.
The title of BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine brings with it £1.2 million of support to facilitate the research programme at Glasgow.
The two other grants awarded to Professor Touyz and her team will support a programme of research looking specifically at an enzyme called Nox5, which contributes to high blood pressure, and allow them to bring in state-of-the-art scientific equipment.
Researching the causes of high blood pressure
Professor Touyz's previous research discovered that the Nox5 enzyme is partly responsible for producing higher levels of free radicals in blood vessels, causing inflammation in blood vessel cells.
Nox5 seems to play a key role in high blood pressure in humans. By improving our understanding of how it works, Professor Touyz’s work could lead to new treatments and improved methods of diagnosis for people with high blood pressure.
Professor Touyz blogs about what inspired her to get into research.