Blood pressure does not always rise as you get older but it often does.
This may be due to the loss of elasticity in the arteries (often called hardening of the arteries) affecting the flow of blood – more pressure must be applied by the heart to drive the blood through the vessels when there is less elasticity to assist.
With atherosclerosis (roughening or “furring” of the artery walls) which is the most common cause of hardening of the arteries, there is a kind of vicious circle. High blood pressure makes atherosclerosis worse, and atherosclerosis in turn raises blood pressure.
A rise in blood pressure with age might also be due to putting on weight as we get older and being generally less active.
If you eat healthily, stay active, don’t smoke and keep your weight within the normal range, you are far less likely to suffer blood pressure problems as you get older.
High blood pressure in older people is generally treated by making lifestyle changes and using low dose medications if required. If you are overweight, one of the best things you can do for high pressure is to lose weight sensibly. Generally blood pressure reduces as weight falls.