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Sep 26, 2021
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Twin fate

Twin fate

Twins have a lot in common. They often suffer from the same diseases. And this is understandable – the genetic program they received from their parents is often the same. But not everything depends on genes.

It turns out that they have a different predisposition to the development of hypertension – one of the most common diseases of mankind.

As a rule, twins build relationships with each other depending on seniority: the one who appeared a few minutes earlier often considers himself in charge. But as studies show, it is not the time of birth that is much more important, but the weight at birth. Those who were born lighter have a higher risk of developing hypertension in the future.

This is the conclusion reached by a group of researchers from the University of Tasmania, led by Professor Terence Dwyer. They studied 888 children under the age of eight, which included 55 pairs of twins. Among the latter, a clear link was found: those twins who were born lighter than their siblings were more likely to develop hypertension in later life. Similar data were reported by British physicians from Imperial College London, who studied 492 pairs of twins.

How can such differences be explained? It would seem that the fate of twins during pregnancy is the same: they have one common mother and almost the same set of genes (and identical twins simply have the same). After analyzing all the factors, the researchers came to the conclusion that the whole thing is in the placenta, or in the so-called fetal place. This organ, which exists only during pregnancy, is a kind of mediator between the mother and the fetus. And if one embryo develops worse than the other, as evidenced by a lower birth weight, then this is probably due to the placenta. In short, the fate of twins depends not only on the genes and behavior of the mother during pregnancy, but also on the placenta.

What should expectant mothers do now during pregnancy? Is there anything they can do to help a child at higher risk of hypertension? The main thing is to lead a healthy lifestyle at this time. But when the twins are already born, you need to remember that one of them has a higher risk of developing arterial hypertension. And so that this probability does not become a reality, you need to raise the child correctly. In no case should he be fed – it is dangerous to allow him to develop excess weight, because obesity is a serious risk factor for hypertension. Do not accustom him to salty food – this also increases blood pressure. And let the child be friends with physical activity from the very childhood: he may not be an athlete, but he is obliged to be a sportsman. All these features of upbringing will help him avoid the development of hypertension in the future.

Oleg Dneprov.

Photo: ADOBESTOCK

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