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Healthy Heart Reports

Why Blood Pressure Rises With Age

8089 -- 11/5/99

Blood pressure often rises with aging. Contrary to what many doctors think, salt, obesity and alcohol have little to do with this rise.

High blood pressure is associated with heart attacks, strokes, aging and death. Recent research shows that high blood pressure associated with aging is probably caused by damage to the arteries leading to the kidneys. Obesity, excess salt and alcohol cause reversible high blood pressure. Taking a large amount of salt can cause your body to retain fluid, enlarge blood volume and raise blood pressure temporarily, but blood pressure returns to normal soon afterwards. For most people, taking in a lot of salt does not raise blood pressure. Drinking alcohol raises blood pressure only for a short time. Obesity is associated with a sustained high blood pressure at any age, and is usually reversible with weight loss.

Recent research show that damaged kidney arteries, called intimal fibroplasia, are the most likely cause of high blood pressure and that prevention of high blood pressure with aging includes preventing kidney arterial damage by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts, reducing your intake of processed foods and dairy products, exercising and avoiding overweight.

RE Tracy. Salt, obesity, and alcohol fail to induce a lasting rise of blood pressure with age, and may be independent of renocortical vasculopathy.Qjm - Monthly Journal of the Association of Physicians, 1999, Vol 92, Iss 10, pp 601-607.Address Tracy RE, Louisiana State Univ, Med Ctr, Dept Pathol, 1901 Perdido St, New Orleans,LA 70112 USA

Copyright 2003 www.DrMirkin.com
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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