Does Age Really Cause Blood Pressure to Rise?

Cardiologists are generally convinced that blood pressure inevitably increases with age. Now a new study calls this belief into question.

Researchers studied two communities in a remote area of the Venezuelan rain forest that can only be reached by air. The Yanomami are among the most isolated and least assimilated people in the world. Nearby live the Yekwana people, also quite isolated, but with an airstrip that allows for the regular delivery of Western food and medicine.

The study, in JAMA cardiology, included 72 Yanomami and 83 Yekwana men, women and children ages 1 to 60. While the two groups were similar in other respects, average blood pressure among the Yanomami was 95/63, whereas in the Yekwana it was 104/66.

By the time they reached age 60, blood pressure among the Yanomami was unchanged, while the Yekwana average had risen to 114/73.

Excerpted from The New York Times

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