In seniors, higher-than-normal blood pressure is common but it is often difficult to identify a single, specific cause. More than 1 billion people are living with high blood pressure worldwide and seniors are thought to be at higher risk than other age groups. High blood pressure often goes symptomless and therefore can be hard to detect unless it has a medical side-effect. The following conditions can often be brought on by existing hypertension in elderly patients.
Studies show that there may be a link between varying blood pressure and stroke. A 2003 study in The Journal of Hypertension showed that the risk of stroke rose by 80 percent in seniors who showed variable blood pressure levels at night. The levels of blood getting to the brain may play a role in the rising risk of stroke or seizures among the elderly. It is a good idea to fit a medical alert system in the homes of those with hypertension as it can be used to seek immediate help in the event of a stroke or seizure.
There is evidence to suggest that blood vessel health may play a role in the onset of dementia in the elderly. A 15-year study showed that those who developed dementia between the ages of 79 and 85 had higher blood pressure levels at age 70 than those who did not develop the brain degenerative disease. The cause is unknown but may be linked to damage to the small blood vessels in the heart. Leading a healthier lifestyle may help to prevent high blood pressure as well as related heart conditions and possibly memory problems later in life.
High blood pressure can result in damage to the blood vessels which serve the kidneys. These blood vessels weaken, harden and eventually are narrowed meaning they are unable to deliver enough blood to the kidneys. The kidneys then lose their ability to filter blood which can lead to kidney failure. In turn, the failure of the kidneys can raise blood pressure. It is estimated that one in five men and one in four women between the ages of 65 and 74 have chronic kidney disease worldwide which could be due to the high incidence of hypertension among this age group.
These conditions can also have the reverse effect of inducing high blood pressure leading to further related health problems. Memory loss and neurodegenerative disorders have been linked to high blood pressure in elderly patients therefore it is important to visit your health professional for regular screenings.
Written by Sally Writes – Freelance writer