This is what happens to your blood pressure when you turn 50

Written By Mark

As a person reaches the age of fifty, his risk of high blood pressure increases, which is a serious disease and a silent killer if it is not treated. What are the reasons for this? What is the treatment?

High blood pressure occurs when blood presses on the walls of blood vessels too forcefully, and this can lead to damage over time. It can also increase the risk of many health conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, vision loss, and erectile dysfunction.

The World Health Organization explains that there are several risk factors for developing high blood pressure, including genetics, being overweight or obese, being sedentary, and eating too much salt.

Aging is another risk factor, as the American Association of Retired Persons indicates that high blood pressure is among the common conditions among people when they reach their fifties.

What happens to your blood pressure when you reach the age of fifty?

The answer is that blood pressure – in general and often – becomes more susceptible to high blood pressure, as the risk of high blood pressure increases in the fifties, and one of the reasons for the spread of high blood pressure among people over the age of 50 years – according to a study conducted in 2015 and published in the journal “Frontiers In Genetics”- is the fact that our vascular system changes.

The elastin fibers in the blood vessels become less able to do their job, and the work they were doing is transferred to the stiffer collagen fibers. As a result, our arteries become stiffer, leading to higher blood pressure, according to a report in Health Digest.

We also tend to gain weight as we age, as our metabolism slows down and our hormone levels decrease. We also see changes in body composition with decreased muscle mass and increased fat mass.

These changes can lead to weight gain, even if we don’t do anything differently. Carrying extra weight can contribute to high blood pressure by increasing resistance in our blood vessels and making our hearts pump harder.

Fortunately, high blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes as well as medications.

Your doctor may first recommend that you try to manage your blood pressure without having to take medications by improving your diet and consuming less salt.

After obtaining your doctor’s approval, you can also start an exercise program. Other changes you can make include not smoking and getting enough sleep.

If lifestyle alone is not enough to regulate your blood pressure, you may also be advised to start treatment.

The type of medication your doctor prescribes depends on your health and how high your blood pressure is. Sometimes it will take time of trial and error to find what works for you, and it may be necessary to take more than one medication.

Common types of blood pressure medications include:

  • Diuretics
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Calcium channel blockers

Your doctor may choose other types of medications if they are not effective.

Blood pressure measurement

Blood pressure is measured using a special device, which may be manual, such as a mercury blood pressure monitor, or automatic, such as electronic blood pressure measuring devices. While the first may be more accurate, the second is easier to use.

The device records two readings, the first – which is the highest – represents the systolic blood pressure, and the second – which is the lowest – represents the diastolic. The reading is written in the form of a fraction, the numerator is systolic and the denominator is diastolic. For example, if the systolic pressure is 115 and the diastolic pressure is 75, the blood pressure for this person is written as 115/75.

The unit of measurement is the millimeter of mercury, which means that the systolic pressure, for example, is equal to the height of a column of mercury whose length is 115 millimeters.

The American Heart Association classifies blood pressure readings according to the following:

  • Normal blood pressure: systolic less than 120 and diastolic less than 80.
  • Pre-morbid: systolic between 120 and 139 and diastolic between 80 and 89.
  • Stage 1 hypertension: systolic 140-159 and diastolic 90-99.
  • Stage 2 hypertension: systolic 160 or higher, diastolic 100 or higher.
  • If the systolic blood pressure is higher than 180 or the diastolic blood pressure is higher than 110, this means that the patient is experiencing a “hypertension” attack, and he must then go to the emergency clinic immediately, because this increase threatens the patient’s life. In an emergency, the doctor will quickly lower the patient’s blood pressure, and may keep him in the hospital until it is under control.

Among the upper and lower readings, doctors pay more attention to systolic blood pressure (the upper reading) as one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease in people over the age of 50. Systolic pressure usually rises with age as a result of large arteries losing their elasticity and narrowing of the blood vessels. This is linked to a higher risk of heart disease.