It has been long believed that your risk of developing hypertension – high blood pressure – is associated with age. But the latest research findings suggest that it may have more to do with lifestyle than age.
The study looked at the isolated Yekwana hunter-gatherer-gardeners who live in the Venezuelan rainforest. This community never had blood pressure issues in the past, but there has been a steady rise in blood pressure as the community has become more Westernized. This groups blood pressure has been found to be higher than surrounding communities as the Yekwana people are more exposed to Western medicine and missions.
The people of the Yekwana community were compared to the neighboring community of Yanomami. Participants had their sitting blood pressure taken.
Overall, those in the Yanomami village had lower blood pressure compared to the Yekwana village. By age 10, the mean systolic blood pressure for the Yanomami village was 5.8 mmHg lower than the Yekwana people. By age 50, the difference was 15.9 mmHg.
The researchers suggest a Western lifestyle is a more significant contributing factor to high blood pressure than simply aging.
There are many factors of a Western lifestyle which could contribute to high blood pressure such as diet, activity levels, and even stress levels. These should all be well managed in order to reduce one’s risk of hypertension. The study suggests that blood pressure isn’t an inevitable part of aging but can be controlled and managed through lifestyle habits.