The effects of age and ethnicity on blood pressure
While the exact cause of high blood pressure isn’t known, modern medical science has made it clear that several factors – from bodyweight to age – have a significant impact on its development and severity.
One of the factors most correlated with high blood pressure is age. As we get older, the likelihood of us developing high blood pressure increases. People aged 35 and older, for example, face an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure.
In this guide, we’ll look at the effects of age and race on high blood pressure. We’ll also look into the worrying trend of young individuals – particularly young men – affected by high blood pressure and its myriad health effects.
Understanding blood pressure and age
As we age, our likelihood of developing high blood pressure increases. Americans aged 60 years have a 65% probability of being affected by high blood pressure – a rate that significantly exceeds that of middle aged people.
Although many people mistakenly believe that high blood pressure is a natural and unavoidable part of aging, it can easily be prevented, regardless of one’s age, using a combination of healthy living, physical activity and a balanced diet.
The most common form of high blood pressure in people aged 60 and above is ISH – isolated systolic hypertension. This form of high blood pressure means that only the systolic blood pressure is elevated beyond the normal healthy range.
High blood pressure and ethnicity
Did you know that race has a significant effect on your chance of developing high blood pressure? As well as age, your race can make you more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and affect your management and treatment options.
People of African descent, including African Americans and Afro-Caribbeans, have higher-than-average instances of high blood pressure. Likewise, South Asians are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure than other ethnicities.
Caucasians suffer from high blood pressure at close-to-average rates. East Asians are typically the least likely to develop high blood pressure, with studies from the Ontario Heart and Stroke Foundation placing them 2% below the average.
People of high-risk ethnicities who notice symptoms of high blood pressure should seek diagnosis immediately. According to the ON-BP study, people of South Asian or African descent face high blood pressure rates of three times the average.
High blood pressure in young people
Although high blood pressure is far more likely to affect the elderly or middle aged than the young, a growing number of young people are facing a significantly higher risk of developing heart disease or stroke because of their blood pressure.
A recent 25-year study on high blood pressure shows that elevated blood pressure in young adults can lead to calcium build-up in the heart and essential arteries later in life. The message: know your blood pressure levels and treat them seriously.
Young people can minimise their risk of developing high blood pressure through a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet. For more information on preventing high blood pressure from developing, read our section on [[lowering high blood pressure]].