What is the secret of a long life – healthy eating, enough exercise, restful sleep, little stress? According to a recent long-term study, the most important factor for a long life in women is blood pressure. Optimal levels were most clearly linked to longevity – regardless of whether the levels were achieved through medication or naturally.
As part of a long-term study, cardiologists from North America and Central Europe discovered that women over 65 who kept their systolic blood pressure between 110 and 130 mmHg had the highest chance of a long life. The study results have now been presented by the German Society for Cardiology (DGK).
Blood pressure clearly linked to longevity
According to senior cardiologist Dr. Bernhard Haring from Homburg an der Saar and Professor Dr. According to Dr. Michael LaMonte from Buffalo (USA), systolic blood pressure in women was clearly linked to longevity.
Difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure
A person’s blood pressure is made up of two values: systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure is the higher value. This indicates the pressure at which blood is pumped through the aorta when the heart muscle contracts.
Diastolic blood pressure, on the other hand, measures the minimum pressure at which the blood circulates in the body when the heart relaxes. It is the lower of the two values.
Optimal blood pressure according to guidelines
In European heart health guidelines, an optimal systolic blood pressure is 120 mmHg and an optimal diastolic blood pressure is 80 mmHg. Harmless systolic blood pressure values fluctuate between 120 and 129 mmHg and in the diastolic range between 80 and 84 mmHg.
Because blood vessels lose elasticity and become stiffer with age, blood pressure usually increases in older people. High blood pressure is considered one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Relationship between blood pressure and longevity examined
As part of the current study, the working group evaluated data from a large US long-term study (Women’s Health Initiative). Between 1993 and 2005, over 16,000 women aged at least 65 years were medically examined at regular intervals.
The participants were then medically observed for 18 years. At the start of the study, none of the test subjects suffered from cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer.
Using the data, which included, among other things, the women’s exact blood pressure values, the research team was able to use a special statistical procedure to calculate how the women’s probability of survival was related to their blood pressure values.
At this blood pressure, women lived the longest
The analysis shows that the general probability of survival was highest for all women with a systolic blood pressure of 120 mmHg. It was not important whether the blood pressure was maintained naturally or controlled with medication.
Healthy blood pressure values are an important pillar for a long life
Even a systolic blood pressure of 130 mmHg was associated with a lower probability of survival in a direct comparison with 120 mmHg. The team therefore comes to the conclusion that optimal blood pressure values in old age are an important pillar for a long life.
Other aspects should not be neglected
Dr. Haring and Professor Dr. However, LaMonte emphasize that other factors such as a healthy diet and sufficient exercise are also important building blocks for a long life. At the same time, these factors have a positive effect on blood pressure values. You can find tips on how to lower blood pressure naturally in the article “Lowering blood pressure naturally”. (vb)