For many people, the most significant contributor to high blood pressure is age. Our arteries stiffen with age. This means the same volume of blood is forced into a smaller area and so your blood pressure may rise, sometimes dramatically.
To imagine the strain this puts on your heart, think of the pressure you need when you blow up a round balloon compared to how much you need to blow up one of those long skinny balloons used to make balloon animals.
Sixty per cent of people aged 60 or older have high blood pressure. But age doesn’t have to be a factor.
Experts point to traditional populations, such as indigenous people in Brazil, where there is no significant rise in blood pressure with age. This suggests our Western lifestyle, particularly salt intake, is the major factor.
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