Scientists find blood pressure emergencies on the rise in older Americans

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In a concerning development from Yale University, researchers have found that even though there’s a nationwide effort to control blood pressure, more seniors in the U.S. are ending up in the hospital because of sudden, big jumps in their blood pressure.

This problem has become especially noticeable over the past two decades.

The group most affected by this increase is Black Americans, particularly those living in the South. This finding is particularly striking and worrying.

The Yale team set out to answer a critical question: Have we made any progress in the last 20 years in preventing hospitalizations due to acute hypertension (a sudden, sharp rise in blood pressure)? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Despite efforts, the situation seems to be getting worse.

They analyzed data from Medicare, focusing on people over 65 years old. What they found was alarming: hospitalizations due to severe blood pressure spikes more than doubled from 1999 to 2019.

Each year, the hospitalization rate for these emergencies went up by 5.6%. But for Black people, it increased even more – by 6%.

Between 2017 and 2019, Black patients were three times more likely to be hospitalized for this issue than others. This is a significant health disparity that needs urgent attention.

These sudden increases in blood pressure are serious. They need to be addressed immediately to prevent severe damage to the body, like heart attacks and strokes.

The study’s findings align with what’s known in medical circles as the “stroke belt” – a region in the South with high rates of strokes and related conditions.

Blood pressure is considered high if the systolic (upper) number is 130 mm Hg or more, or the diastolic (lower) number is 80 mm Hg or more. This is based on standards from the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

For those interested in blood pressure health, this study underscores the importance of understanding and managing blood pressure.

It’s also a reminder to be aware of other research, like how cannabis can affect people with high blood pressure, and how certain high blood pressure medications might help with COVID-19 complications.

Additionally, there’s ongoing research about managing slightly high blood pressure and how plant pigments can significantly reduce it.

The Yale study, led by Yuan Lu and published in the journal Circulation, highlights a critical area of concern in public health.

It shows that despite advancements and awareness, blood pressure emergencies among seniors, particularly in certain communities, remain a growing challenge.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies that early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure, and natural coconut sugar could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness.

For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies about added sugar in your diet linked to higher blood pressure, and results showing vitamin D could improve blood pressure in people with diabetes.

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