High Blood Pressure
Not a Normal Part of Aging
About 72 million American adults -- nearly 1 in 3 -- have high blood pressure. Many people get high blood pressure as they get older. In fact, over half of all Americans age 60 and older have high blood pressure. However, getting high blood pressure is not a normal part of aging! There are things you can do to help keep your blood pressure normal, such as eating a healthy diet and getting more exercise.
Anyone can develop high blood pressure. But your chances of getting high blood pressure are higher if you
- are overweight or obese
- are a man over the age of 45 or a woman over the age of 55
- have a family history of high blood pressure
- have pre-hypertension, a reading of 120-139/80-89 mmHg.
Other things that increase your chances of developing high blood pressure are
- eating too much sodium (salt)
- drinking too much alcohol
- being physically inactive
- not getting enough potassium in your diet
- taking certain medicines, such as some antacids and hormone therapy (women)
- having long-lasting stress.
African Americans at Higher Risk
In the U.S., high blood pressure occurs more often in African Americans. Compared to other groups, blacks
- tend to get high blood pressure earlier in life
- usually have more severe high blood pressure
- have a higher death rate from complications related to high blood pressure, such as stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure.