Elderly High Blood Pressure Risk Factors












Research Paper on Elderly High Blood Pressure Risk Factors


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Hypertension is becoming a health issue in the entire world, especially among elderly individuals. It is the leading causes of mortality in the world and it accounts for 7.5 million deaths yearly based on the report released by the World Health Organization of 2016 on the Global Health Observatory (GHO). At old age, the key factor that is linked to the increase in hypertension is the biological effects caused by the arterial resistance due to the thickening of the arteries. The biological effects of arterial resistance are linked to many factors. The risk factors for the high blood pressure among the elderly include age; lifestyle behaviors, for example, physical inactiveness ad increase salt intake, alcohol intake, cigarette smoking; diabetes mellitus; socio-economic status; and the psychosocial factors (Buford, 2016). The elderly individuals are not actively taking part in the physical activities and this is leading to an increase in their body weight. Regular exercise is important in making heart stringer thus helping in the pumping of more blood with less effort. The ability of the heart to work less in pumping the blood makes the force of the arteries to reduce thus lowering the blood pressure. Nevertheless, the physical inactiveness leads to weaker heart and this makes the heart to pump blood using more effort thus increasing the force of the arteries and increasing the blood pressure of the elderly individuals. Being inactive physically increases the systolic blood pressure and in the old age, the rise in the blood pressure is increased since the majority of the elderly individuals are less active. Physical inactiveness leads to poor maintenance of the healthy weight and this leads to poor control of the blood pressure (Hegde & Scott, 2015). Therefore, since the majority of elderly individuals are less active when it comes to physical exercise, they are highly exposed to high blood pressure. Age is also another key risk fact that exposes elderly individuals to the risk of hypertension. Age is leading to the orthostatic hypotension amongst the elderly individuals and this causes an increase in the arterial resistance since the arteries thicken as one age. The thickening of the arteries is a structural change that occurs in the artery as a person becomes older. Aging leads to the thickening as well as stiffness of the arteries and this exposes individuals to cardiovascular risks such as high blood pressure (Buford, 2016).

The behavior of individuals also exposes elderly persons to the risk of high blood pressure. Some of the behaviors, in this case, include the increase in salt intake amongst elderly persons, cigarette smoking, and alcohol intake. The increase in salt intake is increasing the level of sodium in the bloodstream. The excess levels of sodium in the blood-stream are interfering with the balance of sodium in the blood. This reduces the ability of the kidney to help in the removal of excess water thus causing high blood pressure as a result of extra fluid and the straining of the delicate blood vessels. Cigarette smoking is a behavior that is preventable and is considered as a risk factor to high blood pressure among elderly individuals. A cigarette is containing the nicotine that leads to the rise in the blood pressure and the heart pumping rate. It leads to the narrowing of the arteries and hardening of the heart walls. This results in high chances of blood clot thus interfering with the flow of the blood from the heart. This increases the stress of the heart and exposing individual to a heart attack or stroke (Li, et al., 2017). Alcohol Intake is another behavioral factor that exposes elderly individuals to the risk of high blood pressure. The intake of too much alcohol is raising the blood pressure to unhealthy levels. Alcohol intake is affecting the cardiovascular system by increasing heart rate and blood pressure. The long-term use of alcohol continues to increase the heart rate, high blood pressure, and weakening the heart muscles and causing an irregular heartbeat. This exposes elderly individuals to the risk of high blood pressure (Husain et al., 2014).

Psychosocial factors also expose elderly persons to the risk of high blood pressure. There is growing evidence that links the psychological and the social factors to the onset of the trajectories of hypertension. The psychosocial factors are inducing emotional stress which evokes physiological response mediated in part through activation of the sympathetic nervous system, inflammation, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. The repeated process of activating nervous system is leading to the failure of returning to the resting blood pressure levels. The psychosocial factors like the hostility and the job straining lead to high circulating levels of the catecholamine, higher level of cortisol, and the increased blood pressure (Cuevas et al., 2017). Socioeconomic factors also expose elderly individuals to high blood pressure. Individuals with low socioeconomic status are at higher chances of lacking the socio-political power and the economic resources and this leads to the occupancy of less health-promoting educational, occupational, residential, and recreational environment. These factors are exposing individuals to stressors and few resources to help in the process of coping with the accumulation of the stressors which combines to cause a risk of high blood pressure (Cuevas et al., 2017). Diabetes mellitus is also a risk factor that exposes elderly individuals to high blood pressure. Hypertension appears to be common in an elderly individual with type 2 diabetes and this co-existence can be devastating to the patients especially to their cardiovascular system. Diabetes causes pathologic changes in the blood vessels at various locations. This interrupts with the flow of the blood in the vessels thus exposing the individuals to high blood pressure (Tanzi, 2016).



Buford, T. W. (2016). Hypertension and aging. Ageing research reviews, 26, 96-111. Cuevas, A. G., Williams, D. R., & Albert, M. A. (2017). Psychosocial factors and hypertension: A review of the literature. Cardiol Clin, 35(2), 223-230. Hegde, S. M., & Scott, S. D. (2015). Influence of physical activity on hypertension and cardiac structure and function. Current hypertension reports, 17(10), 77. Husain, K., Ansari, R. A., & Ferder, L. (2014). Alcohol-induced hypertension: Mechanism and prevention. World Journal of Cardiology, 6(5), 245-252. Li, G., Wang, H., Wang, K., Wang, W., Dong, F., Qian, Y., & Haiying, G. (2017). The association between smoking and blood pressure in men: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 17(1), 797. Tanzi, M. G. (2016). Managing diabetes and hypertension in older adults. Apha Pharmacy Today, 22(9), 22-23.

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