Raised blood pressure is to be avoided; the overwhelming weight of evidence associates it with a higher risk of age-related disease and shorter life expectancy. Some of that is because the proximate causes of raised blood pressure damage long term health in other ways as well, but in and of itself, even if there were no proximate causes, higher blood pressure is harmful. It damages delicate tissues in the brain, kidneys, and other organs. It causes remodeling and weakening of the heart and blood vessels. It increases the pace at which capillaries rupture in the brain, producing tiny areas of damage that contribute to cognitive decline. There is much more – the aforementioned consequences are only a sample of the full range of downstream issues.
The causes of raised blood pressure with advancing age are the mechanisms that produce stiffening of blood vessels, such as loss of elasticity in the extracellular matrix, dysfunction in vascular muscle cells, and so on. They cannot be entirely evaded at the present time, not until the presently very narrow range of available rejuvenation therapies expands considerably, but they can be slowed through lifestyle choices. Don’t get fat; avoid smoking and other environmental