It’s a well-known fact that blood pressure tends to go up as people get older. In fact it’s so recognized that some doctors have different blood pressure guidelines for older people than younger.
But the traditional medical system has a tough time explaining why this happens and an even tougher time doing anything about it.
That’s why in today’s feature article I’ll explain the three most common reasons why blood pressure tends to go up with age, why this doesn’t have to happen and how to prevent it.
Blood pressure is one of a few body functions that has the tendency to increase as we get older. Cell replacements, mobility, metabolism and other physical functions all slow down or decrease. If we slow down as we age, wouldn’t blood pressure go down, too? So in a way, it doesn’t make sense that blood pressure rises.
However, it doesn’t have to happen and the trend is completely reversible.
In fact, it’s mostly the systolic blood pressure (the top number) that goes up, causing a condition called isolated systolic hypertension. This is the pressure on the walls of the blood vessels when the heart is beating. Whereas diastolic pressure is the pressure when the heart is resting.
So let’s look at what causes this.
1) Hardening and arterial damage
The most obvious cause of high blood pressure due to aging is caused by a gradual hardening of the arteries.
There are many things that work together to narrow and harden the arteries. Often times it begins with something injuring the arterial walls. This causes inflammation and build-up of cholesterol and other plaque to protect the cells. If the “attack” continues, the cycle of damage is very hard to break.
The cholesterol ‘bandage’ hardens, and the heart has to use more pressure to get blood through the block. This further damages the arteries and raises blood pressure even more.
Temporary hypertension, lasting for a few weeks or months, (caused by stress or other facts) may also trigger this process. To protect the arteries, the walls grow thicker and become more rigid. Even if they can now take more pressure, they also have a higher tendency to crack. Which again, causes build-up of plaque. Thus, a dangerous health cycle has begun.
The damage of arteries can happen anywhere in the body. For example, damage occurring in the arteries in the kidney is called intimal fibroplasia, and is a very common cause of high blood pressure in elderly people who are not overweight.
The good news is that the hardening of the arteries can be reversed. In a study published in the American Heart Association Journal, researchers used exercises somewhat similar (but not as advanced) as the exercises in our Blood Pressure Exercise Program to lower participants’ blood pressure. After a few weeks, the artery walls were significantly thinner and more flexible.
Interestingly, the improvement in arterial health only seemed to happen if people used natural methods. No study has shown reversal in arterial sclerosis (hardening) using blood pressure medications.
Our Cholesterol Plan teaches you methods that literally remove plaque buildup in the arteries.
Chronic inflammation also causes hardening of the arteries. By making lifestyle changes that cure chronic inflammation, your arteries will also soften up and you’ll experience drastic improvements in blood pressure.
Hardening of the arteries is only one reason why blood pressure seems to rise with age. Another reason is…
2) Weakening of the Heart
On the average, people begin losing skeletal muscle mass in their early 40s. When you hit your 50s, the muscle loss really takes off. Some studies say as much as 3% per year.
Since your heart is a muscle, you can expect those tissues to deteriorate in the same way every year after age 40. A weak heart has to work harder to pump the blood throughout the body. That, then, causes irregular or higher blood pressure.
Exactly why muscle deterioration happens is an issue of controversy. Some believe it’s just a natural process of aging. Others blame reduced production of growth hormones.
I think it’s mostly due to lack of physical activity and especially the right kind of physical activity.
A person who uses the right diet and works out with moderate weights will not lose skeletal muscle. You may even increase your muscle mass. Using high-intensity exercises puts the same kind of strain on your heart and prevents it from losing its strength.
I taught one of the best anti-aging exercises in last Saturday’s article. If you missed it, you can read this article here…
The third major reason why blood pressure goes up with age is…
We humans are creatures of habit and that’s as true for the subconscious as it is for the conscious. Your body is always creating new norms and then attempting to reach these new norms if it feels like you’re breaking them.
Everyone, for example, has their own level of weight that the body is comfortable with. A person weighing 300 pounds may be able to lose 10 pounds without any problem. That’s where he/she reaches the body’s comfort level that it has become used to. Another person weighing 100 pounds may also be comfortable losing 10 pounds in exactly the same way. Once you reach your comfort level, your body begins showing signs of (which may be true for a 100 pound person even if not for the 300 pound one- but their bodies still react in the same way).
Although our blood pressure level is monitored by the subconscious in a much more delicate way than our weight, the same principle is true. As your average blood pressure becomes higher, that becomes the norm throughout the day. Your body then considers something is wrong if the blood pressure drops below the average level- even if the new average is too high.
Medications work to force the blood pressure down. It’s not a natural process. Therefore, even if the blood pressure goes down with the medications, they may not break this habit factor. That’s one of the reasons blood pressure medications work (i.e., force the blood pressure down) for a while in the beginning and then stop working as we get older. That’s also the reason these drugs do not lower the risk of dying from heart attack and stroke.
To break this habit of blood pressure gradually becoming higher and instead putting the norm factor lower, you want to give your body what I call a Focused Break. This Focused Break kind of reboots your system.
The good news is that restoring your blood pressure to a lower level for only a few minutes per day is plenty to break the cycle and bring it down. I’ve had many clients who brought their blood pressure below 120/80 the very first time they used my blood pressure exercises and by sticking to the exercises; they never saw it go up again.
You can learn more about my Focused Break Blood Pressure Exercises Here…
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