How does age affect blood pressure?
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) report 67% of adults ≥60 years have hypertension.
Changes in vascular elasticity with altered extracellular matrix cross-linking, fibrosis, and calcium deposition with age lead to stiffness and decreased capacity in the larger elastic vasculature.
Older adults are thus noted to have high systolic blood pressure (SBP) and low diastolic blood pressure (DBP) with subsequent widened pulse pressure. Isolated systolic hypertension (ISH), defined as SBP >160 mm Hg and DBP <90 mm Hg, can be found in 75% of elderly patients with hypertension.