Despite clinical and pathological distinctions between malaria and hypertension, accumulated epidemiological and evolutionary evidence indicate the need of deeper understanding how severe malaria contributes to elevated hypertension risk. Malaria is said to exert strong selection pressure on the host genome, thus selecting certain genetic polymorphisms.
In malaria-endemic countries, the burden of hypertension is on the rise. Although malaria and hypertension seem to have no direct link, several studies in recent years support their possible link. Three bioactive molecules such as angiotensin II (Ang II), bradykinin (BK) and sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) are crucial in regulating blood pressure. While the increased level of Ang II and S1P are responsible for inducing hypertension, BK is arthero-protective and anti-hypertensive.
A few years ago we described in a blog on www.malariaword.org the role zinc may have in diarrhea and tropical diseases. Zn2+ deficiency is a common comorbidity of many chronic diseases.
In a recent weblog we describe the deleterious effect of zinc deficiency in elderly people on the development of pneumonia. Zinc deficiency has a detrimental effect on blood pressure and hypertension is one of the major causes of mortality in Covid infections.
Increasing numbers of aging individuals with chronic co-morbidities travel to regions where falciparum malaria is endemic. Non-communicable diseases are now leading risk factors for death in such countries. Thus, the influence of chronic diseases on the outcome of falciparum malaria is an issue of major importance. Aim of the present study was to assess whether non-communicable diseases increase the risk for severe imported falciparum malaria.