High Blood Pressure - Age Page - Health Information: NIA
Article title: High Blood Pressure - Age Page - Health Information: NIA
Conditions: High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure
You may be surprised if your doctor says you have high blood pressure (HBP) because it does not cause symptoms and you can have it even though you feel fine. But HBP is a serious condition that can lead to stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, and other health problems. The good news is that there are simple ways to control it.
What Is HBP?
As blood flows from the heart out to the blood vessels, it
creates pressure against the blood vessel walls. Your blood pressure
reading is a measure of this pressure. When that reading goes above
a certain point, it is called high blood pressure. Hypertension is
another name for HBP.
How Is It Tested?
To test blood pressure, a doctor or nurse places a cuff around
your arm above the elbow, pumps air into the cuff, and then reads
the measurements as the air is let out. The test is painless and
takes only a few minutes.
What If Just The First Number is High?
Often in older adults the first number (the upper or systolic number) is high while the second (the lower or diastolic) number is normal. This condition is called isolated systolic hypertension, and it also should be treated. Studies prove that lowering the systolic number cuts down on strokes and heart attacks in people age 60 and over.
What Causes HBP?
Some cases of HBP are caused by other illnesses. This kind of HBP
is called secondary hypertension, and it is often cured once the
original medical problem is cured. Most HBP, however, is essential
or primary hypertension. This kind cannot be cured but can be kept
under control by regular, ongoing treatment.
How Is HBP Treated?
If you have mild HBP, your doctor may suggest that you lose
weight and keep it off, eat less salt, cut down on alcohol, and get
more exercise. You may bring your blood pressure down simply by
following this advice. Even if medicine is needed, these daily
habits may help it work better.
Can HBP Be Prevented?
There is now good evidence that HBP can be prevented in many people. The keys to prevention are:
For more information on HBP, contact:
National Institute on Aging
Medical Tools & Articles:
- Risk Factor Center
- Medical Statistics Center
- Medical Treatment Center
- Prevention Center
- Medical Tests Center