In the last two decades, more older Americans are being rushed to the hospital for very high blood pressure.
This is surprising and worrying because there have been many efforts to get people’s blood pressure under control.
Researchers from Yale University looked at the last 20 years to see if fewer people were being hospitalized for sudden jumps in blood pressure. Sadly, they didn’t find any good news.
Who Is Most Affected?
People who are 65 years old or older seem to be hit the hardest. The number of people in this age group hospitalized for very high blood pressure more than doubled from 1999 to 2019.
This is based on information about people who use Medicare, a government health insurance program for older Americans.
What’s even more concerning is that Black Americans are more affected than others. From 2017 to 2019, Black patients were three times more likely to be hospitalized for a blood pressure emergency compared to other racial groups.
This kind of emergency means the blood pressure has shot up to dangerous levels and needs to be brought down right away to prevent severe health problems like heart attacks and strokes.
Hot Spots for High Blood Pressure
The South seems to be a high-risk zone. Researchers found that more people from this part of the country were hospitalized for high blood pressure.
This is in line with what some doctors call a “stroke belt”—an area in the southeastern United States where strokes happen more often than in other parts of the country.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
Just to be clear, high blood pressure isn’t something you can feel, but it can be really bad for your health if it’s not treated.
Blood pressure is considered high when the force of the blood against your artery walls is too strong for a long time.
Medical experts use two numbers to measure blood pressure: the top number (systolic) measures the pressure when your heart beats, and the bottom number (diastolic) measures the pressure when your heart is at rest.
You have high blood pressure if your top number is 130 or higher or your bottom number is 80 or higher.
Why Should You Care?
If you have high blood pressure or know someone who does, it’s important to get it under control. Ignoring it can lead to serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.
Doctors often prescribe medicine to help lower it, and some studies even suggest that drinking beetroot juice or getting more plant nutrients can help.
The findings of this study are a wake-up call.
Despite all the medical advances and public health campaigns, we haven’t made much progress in keeping people out of the hospital for high blood pressure issues, especially among older and Black Americans.
It’s time to step up our efforts to understand why this is happening and find better ways to keep everyone’s blood pressure in check.
If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about how fasting may help reverse high blood pressure naturally, and this diet could help reduce high blood pressure.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about why people with high blood pressure more likely to have severe COVID-19, and results showing an important but ignored cause of high blood pressure.
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