Arterial Stiffness and High Blood Pressure
In addition to high blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease is arterial stiffness, a sign of heart disease. Plaque build-up, arterial stiffness, and varicose veins are also signs of high blood pressure. But while these conditions are common, they are not the same. You can learn about your specific risks and ways to prevent them. Continue reading to learn about the most common causes of high blood pressure and some solutions.
Arterial stiffness can cause high blood pressure. This condition affects both adults and children and has a link to genetics. People with high blood pressure are often genetically predisposed. However, some genetics are inextricably linked with arterial stiffness. Genetic risk for arterial stiffness increases with age, as does the likelihood of developing high blood pressure. To understand arterial stiffness, you must first understand why this condition occurs.
As we age, our bodies accumulate fatty deposits, which are called plaque. These deposits harden and narrow arteries, limiting blood flow to the heart and other vital organs. Left untreated, plaque can lead to a heart attack and other serious cardiovascular conditions. The components of plaque are cholesterol, fat, calcium, and fibrin. This waxy material adheres to the walls of the arteries.
As we age, our blood vessels tend to become less elastic. The walls of our arteries and veins become stiffer and thicker. As a result, our blood pressure can increase even in a normal range. Age also leads to changes in our heart muscle cells, responsible for maintaining normal blood pressure levels. In addition, the walls of our arteries and veins become less flexible, making them more prone to rupture and resulting in embolisms.
While varicose veins and high blood pressure generally go up with age, they often occur simultaneously. The two conditions share several risk factors. For example, high blood pressure tends to develop in men around the age of 45 and women around 65. In addition, aging causes vein valves to break down, making varicose veins more likely to form.
Isolated systolic high blood pressure, also known as systolic hypertension, is a serious cardiovascular condition that affects up to 30 percent of people over Isolated systolic hypertension the age of 60. Besides being associated with a high risk of stroke and coronary heart disease, it also increases the likelihood of congestive heart failure. Therefore, addressing this condition as soon as it becomes apparent is critical to reducing the risk of cardiovascular events.
The ACC/AHA has published Beyond the 2017 Guideline for Prevention, Evaluation, and Management of Hypertension, which encourages more aggressive treatment of hypertension in older adults. The ACC/AHA recommends pharmaceutical treatment of hypertension in noninstitutionalized ambulatory adults with BP less than 130 mmHg. It is important to remember that older adults are less likely to be able to manage high blood pressure without other health conditions.