Do you have concerns about high blood pressure or are you worried about an older relative having a heart attack or stroke?
Your concerns and worries are valid because hypertension is the most common chronic condition among older adults. Additionally, blood pressure medication is among the commonly taken drugs in the United States.
Failure to control hypertension is a significant contributor to the common causes of disability, strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and eventual death.
The CDC reports that over 75 million Americans have high blood pressure but only 54% of these, including senior adults have it under control.
It is therefore important for individuals with aging parents and older adults to think about the causes of high blood pressure and how to manage hypertension.
An increase in body mass index and age are linked to a rise in blood pressure. As of 2017, 37% of Americans over 60 years were classified as obese. Apart from high blood pressure, obesity is associated to other health issues such as stroke, heart disease and cholesterol which have links to hypertension.
Often linked to obesity, diabetes is also a contributor to the development of high blood pressure in older adults. A high sugar intake and poor nutrition can aid in the development of diabetes. With a higher prevalence in older adults, diabetes can lead to further issues such as heart disease.
The National Kidney Foundation states that kidney disease is the leading cause of high blood pressure after diabetes. Kidney disease has also been found to damage blood vessels of the kidneys which cannot remove waste effectively. This can result in pressure on the arteries causing hypertension. High blood pressure narrows, weakens and hardens arteries making it difficult to deliver blood efficiently to the kidneys.
Poor Lifestyle Choices
As we age, it is important to make better lifestyle choices since our immune system weakens. Consuming too much alcohol or tobacco use and diet high in cholesterol and salts can result in high blood pressure. Coupled up with the lack of physical activity, the risk of high blood pressure is significantly higher. Stress can also contribute to high blood pressure by producing a surge of hormones that will cause your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow.