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 factors that reliably increase chronic inflammation; the usual suspects, in other words. The research here demonstrates the relationship between excess visceral fat tissue and raised blood pressure.
Body mass index is positively associated with blood pressure, according to the ongoing study of 1.7 million Chinese men and women. In individuals who were not taking an antihypertensive medication, the researchers observed an increase of 0.8 to 1.7 mm Hg in blood pressure per additional unit of body mass index (BMI). Overall, the population had a mean BMI of 24.7 and a mean systolic blood pressure of 136.5, which qualifies as stage I hypertension.
Researchers recorded the participants' blood pressure from September 2014 through June 2017 as part of the larger China Patient-Centered Evaluative Assessment of Cardiac Events (PEACE) Million Persons Project, which captures at least 22,000 subgroups of people based on age (35-80), sex, race/ethnicity, geography, occupation, and other pertinent characteristics - such as whether or not they are on antihypertensive medication. "The enormous size of the dataset - the result of an unprecedented effort in China - allows us to characterize this relationship between BMI and blood pressure across tens of thousands of subgroups, which simply would not be possible in a smaller study."
In China, the frequency of obesity is expected to more than triple in men - from 4.0% in 2010 to 12.3% in 2025 - and more than double in women - from 5.2% to 10.8%. Meanwhile, high blood pressure already affects one-third of Chinese adults, and only about one in 20 of those with hypertension have the condition under control. According to the researchers, one way for the Chinese healthcare system to address these risk factors would be the management of high blood pressure with antihypertensive drugs. A study compared the widespread and successful use of antihypertensive drugs in the United States for blood pressure management to their infrequent use in China, suggesting that by prescribing antihypertensives earlier and more frequently, China might begin to take control of its high blood pressure crisis.