Why Does Blood Pressure increase with Age

Hypertension is a medical condition where blood pressure reaches above 140/90. Blood pressure of a healthy person should be 120/80. In today's world we most often notice people in their 40s and 50s affected with hypertension. Hypertension is becoming a lifestyle disease today, but these are some aspects of it that make it an age related disease as well. Here we will discuss some ageing related factors that make us prone to hypertension and how we can defy them by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Why does blood pressure increase with age ?

Our body go through several changes due to ageing. Some of the age related factors responsible for increased blood pressure are described below.
  • Elasticity of blood vessels decreases with age : There are some elastic tissues in the walls of arteries which are lost with age and the arteries become stiffer and lose their capability to expand themselves when heart pumps the blood. It increases the systolic blood pressure with age.
  • Eating higher amount of salt : Salt has direct link with blood pressure. More salt in diet means increased blood pressure. Efficiency of our taste buds decreases with age and some people start eating more salt which increases their blood pressure gradually.
  • Body's ability to process salt decreases : As we age our body's ability to process salt decreases gradually. It makes our blood stream retain sodium in higher quantity which increases blood pressure.
  • Decreased kidney function : Kidney function decreases with age so our body releases some hormones to make our body retain more sodium and water in blood and other body cells. This excess sodium increases blood pressure.
  • Change in hormones :  Some hormonal imbalance may occur with age which may lead to increased blood pressure. Women are more prone to such hormonal imbalance due to menopause.
  • Decreased efficiency of heart : Our heart is directly connected to blood pressure. Its ability to pump the blood and its ability to fill blood in its chambers decreases with age which can hypertension with age.
  • Decreased blood volume : In some cases the blood volume decreases with age. However decrease in blood volume is linked to lowering of blood pressure (hypo-tension) but reverse usually happens in such some cases of old age and the person gets affected with hypertension.

Lifestyle changes that can be done to maintain right blood pressure

  • Active lifestyle is a key factor to maintain good blood pressure
  • Eat adequate amount of salt
  • Exercise regularly
  • Elasticity of blood vessels can be maintained till a higher age if you exercise regularly.
Some researches have found that size of our heart increases with age. It is because of the increase in the size of heart muscles with age. Walls of heart chambers also become thick. Totally it increases the capacity of heart chambers. So it takes longer to fill blood in them. It causes a decrease in pulse rate. As we discussed earlier that elasticity of arteries decrease with age. Both of these factors may result in hypertension as the quantity of blood pumped becomes more and elasticity of blood vessels is decreased. It is one of the reasons behind lower pulse rate and increased blood pressure in old age people.
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