From Forbes, a look at the mechanisms by which high blood pressure can cause ongoing damage to the complex machinery of your body - more damage means more age-related disease sooner in your future. "Blood pressure and vascular disease are associated with dementia. Other researchers have shown that kidney function is a predictor of mortality and of heart attack and stroke. Experts have since been playing with the idea that damage to the small vessels in the kidney and brain as a result of high blood pressure are responsible for these connections. ... Large amounts of white matter in the brain, along with enlarged open areas filled with spinal fluid, appear to be linked to cardiovascular disease and shorter life spans for the elderly. ... It suggests that very tight control of blood pressure throughout life is a major determinant of longevity."