Blood Pressure Changes with Age

Hypertension is manageable at any age

(RxWiki News) Grappling with high blood pressure as a result of increased age is a fairly common dilemma. Now researchers have found a link that shows that blood pressure changes as people age.

A team of researchers, led by Andrew Wills from the Medical Research Council Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at the University College London, utilized data from several studies conducted in the United Kingdom where blood pressure measurements were repeatedly taken over time.

"A healthy diet and exercise reduces hypertension at any age."

They discovered that blood pressure changes at four phases throughout life. There is a rapid increase during adolescent growth, a smaller increase during early adulthood, an acceleration in midlife usually when a person is in their 40s, and a period during late adulthood in which blood pressure increases slowly and then reverses.

Researchers reviewed information about blood pressure readings on over 30,000 people between the ages of 7 years old and 80, and examined results in the general population and also an occupational group.

The occupational group had lower overall blood pressure, and midlife blood pressure acceleration appeared to start later. Evidence suggests this might in part reflect modifiable blood pressure-related factors such as diet and lifestyle.

Additionally, though women had lower blood pressure at the beginning of adulthood, an increased midlife acceleration meant that men and women had similar average blood pressures. The midlife increase in women could be due to menopause-related effects on salt sensitivity, researchers said.

The findings also support previous evidence that shows a strong link between body mass index and blood pressure throughout life. Additional research would be needed to determine the key reasons for the age-related increases in blood pressure.

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Review Date: 
June 14, 2011