Why Does Blood Pressure Increase With Age
Doctors dont completely understand why blood pressure tends to rise with age. Blood pressure is the force of blood as it flows through the arteries. As you age, your arteries may narrow and become stiff. Narrow arteries lead to an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage the walls of the arteries and the heart itself.
High Systolic Blood Pressure
The heart muscle pushes out blood with higher pressure when a person is exercising, under stress, or at similar times when the heart rate is increased. The systolic pressure goes up with it.
In these cases, the increased pressure is normal. However, when the pressure is high while a person is resting, thats considered high blood pressure.
Thats why it is so important to take your blood pressure during periods of quiet rest to diagnose hypertension, or high blood pressure.
High systolic blood pressure is usually caused by narrowing of the arteries, which makes the heart have to work harder to push blood through.
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What Is The Dash Diet
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and the diet was developed for a research study in the early 1990s.1 The purpose of the study was to identify a food-based strategy to lower blood pressure. Even though the original research was quite a long time ago, scientists recently conducted a meta-analysis for a DASH diet review to summarize how much blood pressure can be reduced by the DASH diet. The study found, on average, people reduce their blood pressure by 6.7 mmHg systolic and 3.5 mmHg diastolic in just two weeks. The more sodium is restricted, the lower blood pressure goes.
Or more simply stated, the DASH diet plan includes eating more
- fruits and vegetables,
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What Factors Influence Blood Pressure
- Age: Blood pressure tend to increase with age.
- Gender: Women after puberty have low BP than men, whereas, after menopause, women tend high BP.
- Genetics/family history: A family history puts you at risk of high BP.
- Weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of high BP.
- Diurnal variation: BP is lower in the morning and gradually increases throughout the day.
- Stress: BP increases during stress, emotions, fear, and anger situations due to stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.
- Exercise: Physical activity increases BP, but regular exercises can keep BP in the lower range of normal.
- Pregnancy:Progesterone relaxes the walls of blood vessels, causing decreased peripheral vascular resistance. Some women may develop pregnancy-induced hypertension.
- Diseases: Diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Cushings syndrome, and pheochromocytoma can cause high BP.
- Medications: Certain medications can affect BP such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, antianxiety medications, and prednisone.
- Alcohol or tobacco consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can increase your BP.
How Can I Make The Dash Diet Tastier
While the DASH diet includes solid nutrition recommendations, it can be hard for someone new to these recommendations to make food palatable. We are used to sugar and salt as the major “flavors” of our meals. To make the healthy foods in the DASH diet more appealing, be generous with herbs and spices. There are a number of salt-free spice blends that can be used for many recipes. Some options include
- herbs de Provence blends,
- Italian herb blend, Indian
- curry blend, and
- Baja fish taco blend .
These spice blends can be sprinkled on proteins while grilling, turned into a salad dressing with extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar, or sprinkled on a sandwich to reduce the mayonnaise or cheese we typically add for flavor.
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What Causes Low Blood Pressure
There are many possible reasons for low blood pressure, according to both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai, including:
- Heart problems like heart failure or low heart rates
- Endocrine problems, such as parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency or hypoglycemia
- Side effects of medications for high blood pressure, prostatic hypertrophy, Parkinsons disease, depression and erectile dysfunction
- Massive weight loss
- Rapid heart rate
How To Treat Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure can be prevented or treated using the following methods:
- Consume lots of fluids
- Stay hydrated, especially during hot weather or during viral flu
- Drink more nonalcoholic drinks
- Exercise regularly to encourage blood flow
- Avoid sitting or standing quickly
- While rising, take care to sit upright for a few seconds and then get off the bed
- Stay away from heavy lifting
- Avoid standing still for a prolonged time
- Avoid straining while passing stools
- Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water such as sauna, hot water springs, and spas
- Compression stocking covering the thigh and calf restricts the blood flow to the lower part of the body
- Try eating smaller, more frequent meals to avoid post-meal dizziness
- Any consumption of over-the-counter medications should be reported to the physician.
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Your Blood Pressure Numbers And What They Mean
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
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Hypertension: What You Need To Know As You Age
You cant see high blood pressure, also called hypertension. And most ofthe time, you cant feel it. But if youre among the 78 million Americanswith hypertension or are one of the 70 million with prehypertension, its important to understandits effects on your healthand to take action today to bring your numbersdown to healthier levels.
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the inner walls of yourarteries. It has normal fluctuations throughout the dayfalling when yourerelaxed or asleep, rising naturally in the morning, and increasingtemporarily when youre under stress, excited or exercising. But when yourresting blood pressure level rises too high, it can scar, stiffen and/orweaken blood vessels. This effect can double your risk for aheart attack quadruple your odds for astroke raise your risk forheart failure, vision loss, kidney problems,dementiaand circulation problems such asperipheral artery disease weaken your bones and contribute toerectile dysfunctionin men.
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High Blood Pressure Risk Factors
Anyone can get high blood pressure, but some people are more at risk than others. Risk factors that cannot be changed include:
- Age The likelihood of having high blood pressure increases the older you get.
- Sex Before age 55, men have a greater chance of having high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause .
- Family history People with a family history of high blood pressure share common environmental and other potential factors that increase their risk.
- Race Research shows Black Americans are at an increased risk for high blood pressure.
Heart Attack And Heart Disease
High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:
- Chest pain, also called angina.
- Heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
- Heart failure, a condition that means your heart cant pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.
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What Your Blood Pressure Should Be According To Your Age
High blood pressure may be a common condition, but it should never be taken lightly. Even though nearly half of American adults age 18 and older suffer from prehypertension or hypertension, high blood pressure isnt diagnosed the same way for everyone .
In fact, blood pressure guidelines vary according to the age of the patient, meaning that the 120/80 rule doesnt apply to everyone.
Signs And Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure may not have any symptoms and so hypertension has been labeled the silent killer. Longstanding high blood pressure can lead to multiple complications including heart attack, kidney disease, or stroke.
Some people experience symptoms with their high blood pressure. These symptoms include:
- The Feeling of pulsations in the neck or head
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Low Systolic Blood Pressure
If the systolic blood pressure is lower than normal, its called hypotension. If this low blood pressure is serious enough, it can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting. If it lasts long enough and it isnt treated, it may cause organs like your kidneys to start shutting down.
Systolic hypotension can occur if the amount of blood in your body becomes too low. This can happen if you are severely dehydrated or you have major bleeding there just isnt enough blood to push through the body.
Sometimes this low blood pressure happens when you change positions suddenly. You may feel dizzy when you stand up because gravity is pulling blood down toward your feet. This is a common condition called orthostatic hypotension.
What You Should Know About Fluctuating Blood Pressure In The Elderly
As you help monitor your loved ones blood pressure, keep in mind that if numbers fluctuate slightly throughout the day, thats normal. Several factors influence your blood pressure numbers. For example, your blood pressure may be lower if youre resting and higher if youre stressed. This means you may have a normal reading in the morning and an elevated number in the afternoon.
If youre concerned about excessive fluctuation in your loved ones blood pressure numbers, keep the following tips in mind:
- Read the instructions to ensure youre using your home blood pressure monitor equipment correctly. Variations in how you measure your loved ones blood pressure can result in different readings.
- Bring your home monitor to your next doctors appointment to compare readings.
- Be aware of white coat hypertension. In some cases, a persons blood pressure may be high at a doctors office but normal at home. This could be attributed to the stress related to a doctors appointment.
Your loved ones doctor may want you to keep a blood pressure diary with several readings a day for a couple of weeks to monitor any variations.
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Do I Have High Blood Pressure
Anyone can have high blood pressure. Some medical conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, kidney disease, and thyroid problems, can cause high blood pressure. Some people have a greater chance of having it because of things they can’t change. These are:
- Age. The chance of having high blood pressure increases as you get older, especially isolated systolic hypertension.
- Gender. Before age 55, men have a greater chance of having high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause.
- Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in some families.
- Race. African Americans are at increased risk for high blood pressure.
High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms, but routine checks of your blood pressure will help detect increasing levels. If your blood pressure reading is high at two or more check-ups, the doctor may also ask you to measure your blood pressure at home.
There are important considerations for older adults in deciding whether to start treatment for high blood pressure if it is above 130/80, including other health conditions and overall fitness. Your doctor may work with you to find a blood pressure target that is best for your well-being and may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, and medications.
How To Avoid Hypertension
Many factors come together to cause hypertension. While you cant change things like your age, genetics, or medical conditions there are many steps you can take every day to improve your numbers .
Start by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetable and decreasing your intake of salt. Excessive sodium consumption is of the number one controllable causes of the condition.
Its also important to control your weight and exercise frequently as well as avoid smoking and alcohol consumption. Other factors to consider include stress levels and nutritional deficiencies.
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Normal Blood Pressure For Men
Men are recommended to have an average normal blood pressure of 120/80 however, as we have noted, there are varying factors to consider when determining what works for each person. What is normal for a man in his 30s is not deemed a normal reading for a man in his 60s.
The following are the average blood pressures and the corresponding lows and highs for men from ages 15 to 64 years.
Elderly Blood Pressure Range
According to the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association , people above 65 years of age should try to maintain a healthy blood pressure of 130/80 mmHg. As at this age, if the pressure fluctuates or increases, there is a high risk of heart attack or cardiovascular problems.
Below is the elderly blood pressure chart:
|Blood Pressure Category for Adults above 65||Systolic mmHg|
|180 or higher||120 or higher|
Low Blood Pressure:The level below 90/60 mmHg is considered as low pressure. Low blood pressure is common in women as 2 out of 10 suffer from low blood pressure or hypotension. It is caused due to lack of minerals such as calcium and iron. Doctors mainly advised them to increase the level of salt intake, take sufficient amounts of protein and minerals. Low blood pressure may cause dizziness or fainting and have the risk of falling down.
Normal Blood Pressure:People with systolic pressure lower than or equal to 120mmHg and diastolic pressure around 80mmHg are said to have a normal or ideal blood pressure.
Elevated Blood Pressure:In this category, the systolic pressure ranges from 120-129 mmHg and the diastolic pressure is around 80 mmHg. This phase is initial stage of high blood pressure. You need to control your BP if you are in this stage, else it can make you a high blood pressure patient in future. It occurs due to sudden change in lifestyle and can be controlled by physical exercises, lowering salt intake and reducing alcohol.
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Hypertension Is A Common Cause For Erectile Dysfunction In Men
Hypertension is a common cause for erectile dysfunction in men. When you have vascular disease such as hypertension, you have it all over your body and it can affect all bodily functions including erections. Adequate blood flow is needed to get and maintain an erection and any problems with blood flow can result in ED. This is why it’s important men seek treatment for ED it may be due to underlying medical conditions such as hardening of the arteries or diabetes. Early detection of these diseases allows patients to receive treatment right away and possibly prevent complications.
Normal Blood Pressure By Age
What is normal blood pressure according to age?
The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. Its measurement is recorded by two numbers. The first is measured after the heart contracts and is highest. The second is measured before the heart contracts and the lowest. A blood pressure cuff is used to measure the pressure. Elevation of blood pressure is called “hypertension”.
The chart in the article shows normal blood pressure according to age both male and female. Diastolic blood pressure and Systolic Blood Pressure are included in the chart.
The American Heart Association defines
- normal blood pressure as less than 120/80,
- elevated blood pressure ranges between 120/80 and 129/80, and
- high blood pressure is 130/80 and higher.
- In pregnancy, normal blood pressure should be below 120/80.
If your blood pressure reaches the high range, you should see your doctor about lifestyle changes, and possibly medication especially if you have other risk factors, such as diabetes or heart disease.
If your blood pressure is lower than about 100/60 you may have low blood pressure, depending on the associated symptoms. If you are unsure, check with your doctor.
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Choosing A Blood Pressure Monitor
If you’re planning to take your blood pressure at home, it’s important to have a reliable blood pressure monitor. The AHA recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor, but there are other options.
When selecting a blood pressure monitor, consider the following:
- Fit: To ensure a proper fit, measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
- Number of people: If more than one person will be using the monitor, make sure to choose one that fits everyone.
- Features: Some blood pressure monitors offer extra tech features, like Bluetooth and app connectivity. If you don’t think you’ll benefit from these extras, go ahead and choose one that is efficient, easy to use, and more affordable.
- Budget: High-quality blood pressure monitors vary dramatically in price, from around $25 to well over $100. Keep in mind that a good monitor is a great investment and that you will be using it daily for several years.
- Other considerations: The AHA notes that when selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant person, or child, you should make sure it is validated for these conditions.
If you need help selecting an at-home device, check out these blood pressure monitors, which were vetted by the Verywell team based on the above criteria.