AGING CONDITIONS: HYPERTENSION
[High Blood Pressure]
The arteries are the vessels that carry blood from
the pumping heart to the tissues and organs of the body.
Hypertension means higher than normal pressure or tension
in the arteries. Chronic high blood pressure is a "silent"
condition, it can cause blood vessel changes in the
back of the eye [retina], abnormal thickening of the
heart muscle, kidney failure, and brain damage.
Measurement of Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is measured as a ratio of systolic and
The systolic blood pressure, the top number, represents
the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts
and pumps blood into the arteries.
The diastolic pressure, the bottom number, represents
the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after
the contraction. The diastolic pressure, therefore,
reflects the minimum pressure to which the arteries
Normal blood pressure - pressure
Pre-hypertension - pressure between
120/80 and 139/89
High blood pressure - pressure of
140/90 or above
For individuals older than 50 years of age, systolic
hypertension represents a greater risk. Hypertension
affects approximately 1 in 4 adults in the United States.
Effect of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is 140/90 or more and means your
heart must work harder to pump the blood, risking damage
to the heart and the arteries. This increases the risk
of developing end-organ damage diseases such as: heart
disease, kidney disease, hardening of the arteries [atherosclerosis
or arteriosclerosis], eye damage, and stroke [brain
Whereas it was previously thought that diastolic blood
pressure elevations were a more important risk factor
than systolic elevations, it is now known that for individuals
older than 50 years of age systolic hypertension represents
a greater risk.
Guides To Lowering Your Blood Pressure
quiz to help diagnose your likelihood of having high
quiz to determine your cholesterol
Risk Factors in Hypertension
In over 90% of cases the cause of high blood pressure
is unknown. Typical unavoidable factors that increase
the chance of having high blood pressure include:
- Your age - blood pressure tends to increase with
- Family history - if your parents have high blood
pressure, your risk is greater.
- Race - African Americans are more likely to have
high blood pressure than are white Americans.
Avoidable risk factors include:
- Excess weight
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- High salt consumption
- Physical inactivity
Overweight and Obesity
Excess body fat, especially in the waist area, presents
a significant risk for high blood pressure, high blood
cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes, heart disease
and stroke. This is true even if no other risk factors
Treatment for Hypertension
Treatment for blood pressure is normally a combination
of a change in lifestyle, in particular diet and exercise,
and treatment using medication.
Adjustments to the diet have proven effective in supporting
lowering blood pressure. In particular, lowering alcohol
and salt intake. Key nutrients supporting the lowering
of blood pressure include: Omega-3, Peptides and Mineral
All Blood Pressure Supplements
30-60 minute workouts of moderate-to-vigorous exercise,
three times a week significantly reduces your risk of
heart attack and heart disease. Exercise can help control
blood cholesterol, diabetes and obesity, thereby
helping to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk
Good exercises include: brisk walking, gardening,
housework, aerobic dancing, jogging or running, rowing,
swimming and sports such as singles tennis, racquetball,
soccer and basketball are appropriate activities.
Check with your doctor before you begin a vigorous
activity program, especially if you're middle aged or
older, have heart disease or another medical problem,
and have been inactive for a long time.
To Cardiac Exercise & Rehabilitation
Typcially medication used to treat hypertension is
For a full list of drugs used to control hypertension:
the latest news and treatments on hypertension