Why Does Blood Pressure Increase with Age?

The performance of your cardiovascular system will naturally decrease as you age. This is reasonable since many variables associated with the mechanisms of your cardiovascular system also get worse as you get older. Some of these variables are your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Like in cholesterol, the pressure inside your blood vessels tends to increase naturally with age. Why and how does it occur? Here are pieces of helpful information about this issue!

Why is high blood pressure bad?

The healthy level of blood pressure (the pressure inside the blood vessels of your cardiovascular system) is important to make sure that your heart works properly in distributing blood throughout the body. We know well that blood is the public transportation of the body in delivering oxygen and other essential nutrients all around the body.

If the circulation of the blood inside the blood vessels doesn’t run as well as it should, this means that the distribution of oxygen and essential nutrients to cells /tissues of the body doesn’t work well.

High blood pressure or medically familiar called as hypertension is one of factors that can affect the mechanism of blood flow in the body.

While high blood pressure can be one of signs when your heart works harder than usual, it also has a direct effect to the mechanism of your heart in pumping the blood.

Hypertension is often associated with many cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, heart failure problem, aneurysm (weaken blood vessels), and atherosclerosis. It also can increase your risk of developing stroke, memory problems (decreased memory), and certain metabolic syndrome (such as type-2 diabetes).

Most cases of hypertension are often linked with poor diet, lack of exercise, and other bad lifestyle factors. This kind of hypertension is called essential hypertension. It usually occurs without known ‘clearly cause’.

image_illustration16Another less common type of hypertension is secondary hypertension. Typically, it is caused by certain medical health problems which kidney disease ranks at the top cause. High blood pressure that is triggered by kidneys problem is medically called as renal hypertension.

Diet and lifestyle factors still have an effect on the secondary hypertension, but a certain health condition that triggers it has much more effect.

The levels of your blood pressure increases naturally with age, why?

Some risk factors of cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels get worse with age.

According to Mayo Clinic, the hypertension problem is more common in men in their early middle ages. And for women, it tends to occur after the phase of menopause. Both in men and women, hypertension that occurs before the age of 50 is linked with the higher risk of heart attack.

There are several reasons why your blood pressure increases as you get older. The following are some of these reasons.

An older heart

Though you can stick with healthy diet and healthy lifestyles all the time of your life (a mission impossible), aging is not something that you can prevent – you can make it run slower, but you cannot prevent it. Either for your heart, it gets older day by day. And this can affect its performance in pumping the blood!

There is a system in your heart (a natural pacemaker) that regulates the rate of the heartbeats. This system can respond what you are doing.

During exercise, it can boost the rate of your heartbeat in order to pump and distribute the blood faster. And at rest, it decreases the heartbeat.

As you age, there is greater chance of some pathways of the heart’s pacemaker system to get more fat deposits which then can affect the way of how it works.

Other problems of heart that may affect blood pressure as you get older are the slightly degeneration of the heart muscle cells and the heart wall thickens (a condition that can make your heart become longer to be fill with blood), according to the National Institutes of Health.

Decreased performance of your blood vessels

Blood vessels may be the most important variable when it comes to measuring the level of your blood pressure. A narrowed blood vessel can significantly affect the blood pressure.

A narrowed and hardening artery can be potential to lead to a clogged artery (a life threatening condition because can cause stroke and heart attack, depending on where the clogged artery develops).

The decreased performance of blood vessels (particularly for their flexibility and elasticity) can be caused by the age of the blood vessel itself. Other causes include unhealthy diet (high in cholesterol and saturated fats) and poor in exercise.

Overall, your chance of getting less flexible, thicker, and stiffer of a blood vessel increases as you get older.

Salt issue

It’s clear that excessive sodium (salt) in the bloodstream can increase the blood pressure level because it can retain fluid.

Therefore, diet low in salt or even sometime free of salt is often recommended for people with hypertension when it comes to the hypertension treatment with lifestyle approaches. In fact, diet high in salt is one of common risk factors of hypertension.

Unfortunately, the ability of your body to use and process your dietary salt decreases as you get older.

This means that there will be more sodium accumulated in the bloodstream. Furthermore, your body also tends to become more sensitive to sodium & other factors as you age. These can be great combination to cause hypertension in elderly people who take diet high in salt.

Changes in the blood volume

What are changes of your blood that tend to occur as you get older? Well, there are some changes. But when it comes to the issue of raised blood pressure, the issue of the fluid reduction in the body may have an effect.

Normal aging can make your body lose its ability in using fluid. As you age, you tend to become easier to have a reduction in your total body water. This means that there will be less fluid in your bloodstream.

Theoretically, the decreased volume of blood that flow inside the blood vessels should cause decreased pressure inside the blood vessels. But sometime this condition may also have an effect in causing raised blood pressure.

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