High Blood Pressure is a Silent Danger in Elderly women

May 19, 2014

Blood pressure is the force by which the blood pumped through our heart reaches the network of arteries, veins and capillaries against the arterial walls. The pressure also depends on how tight the small arteries or arterioles are. Arterioles regulate the blood flow throughout our bodies. If these arterioles are narrower the pressure inside the vessels grows resulting in the condition of high blood pressure that is very common among the older people.

High blood pressure or hypertension is also called ai???the silent killerai??? in the elderly because it is quite asymptomatic. Even though more than 76 million Americans have high blood pressure but as many as 16 million of them are unaware of this condition.


Blood Pressure in Elderly Women

Hypertension generally develops over many years. This may be due to the loss of elasticity in the arteries that affects the flow of blood and the heart has to apply more pressure to drive the blood through the vessels when there is less elasticity to assist. If it is continuously high it puts added strain on the blood vessels, arteries and the heart. This added force of blood flowing and surging through the arteries damages the artery-walls and forms plaques.

The plaques also have added cholesterol that can cause chest pain or angina. Although the doctors typically prescribe dietary and lifestyle changes at the onset of hypertension but eventually medication is the only way to keep a check.

Usually a womanai??i??s risk of developing high blood pressure is extremely high as compared to men and this risk increases with age.Ai?? The Integrated Interventional Cardiovascular Program at Brigham and Womenai??i??s Hospital suspects that around 70% of women in 60s and 70s have hypertension, and this number increases to 80% at age 75.

For most of them doctors recommend ambulatory blood pressure testing using a device that automatically takes readings of blood pressure over a 24-hour period so as to identify if their blood pressure falls in the night. Hypertension makes women more prone to the cardiovascular and the stroke risk.

Causes of Hypertension

There are several causes that lead to hypertension. Some of them are:

  • Age ai??i?? As we grow older, our blood pressure tends to increase.
  • Medical problems ai??i?? If we have chronic kidney disease, thyroid disease, sleep apnea our blood pressure automatically is high.
  • In some women, birth control pills, pregnancy or hormone therapy may cause blood pressure to rise. Women taking birth control pills usually have a small rise in both systolic and diastolic pressures.
  • Arteriosclerosis ai??i?? makes the arteries stiff and unable to widen in response to rising blood pressure.
  • According to the American Heart Association, menopause also increases a womanai??i??s chances of developing high blood pressure.
  • Women who smoke also increase their risks to a large extent.

Classification of Blood Pressure

Having high blood pressure is usually not a case of concern in most women as is the breast cancer, but it is equally important to detect hypertension early, whether a person is young or old.Ai?? High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition without symptoms, and it is advisable for women to be vigilant about monitoring their pressure.

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