Age and Diet with Blood Pressure

BY: ALYA ZOUAOUI

Introduction

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood through the arteries in the circulatory system as it leaves the heart and travels through the body. In health, blood pressure is a very important factor, which is probably why you might get it checked almost EVERY time you go to the doctors. When you look at blood pressure (NOT pulse), there are two numbers you would see; systolic and diastolic.

  • Systolic- measures the pressure in arteries when heart beats and pumps the blood out: top or first number

  • Diastolic- measures pressure in the arteries between heartbeats, when your heart is relaxed before the next heartbeat: bottom or second number

  • Healthy blood pressure: 120/80 mm Hg or lower (less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic)


Blood pressure and heart rate, or pulse, might seem the same but are two completely different things:


Blood Pressure


  • Pressure of blood through arteries in the circulatory system as it leaves the heart and travels through the body
  • mm Hg (millimeters of mercury)
  • The two numbers represent systolic and diastolic pressure


VS.


Heart Rate


  • Number of times heart beats per minute
  • BPMs (beats per minute)
  • One number represents the BPM

High Blood Pressure

We all know that there are healthy and unhealthy people, so without a healthy blood pressure, what would you have? If your blood pressure is higher than the health standards, you would have hypertension, or lower blood pressure, hypotension.


Hypertension: High Blood Pressure (HBP: 140+ mmHg SYS / 90+ mmHg DIA)

  • Prehypertension: 120-139 mmHg SYS / 80-89 mmHg DIA

In BP, the blood pumped into and against the arteries, or blood vessels, from the heart are then carried around the body. HBP causes the heart to work even harder to pump blood into the body and contributes to hardening of the arteries and to the development of heart failure, making it dangerous.

  • Fact: HBP is the second leading cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD) after diabetes.


Some causes for HBP:

  • Smoking

  • Being obese, or lack of physical activity

  • Overuse of salt intake

  • Too much alcohol consumption

  • Older age

  • Stress

  • Genetics (family history of HBP)

  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders

Common side effects in HBP:

  • Severe headaches

  • Severe anxiety

  • Shortness of breath

  • Nosebleeds

Summary of HBP causes:


Essential hypertension has been linked to certain risk factors, and has remained somewhat mysterious. HBP is common to run in families and more likely to affect men than women. Age and race also play a role. The majority of all people with HBP are sensitive to salt and anything more than the body’s need is too much for them and increases their blood pressure. Some other factors that can raise the risk include obesity, diabetes, stress, lack of physical activity, chronic alcohol consumption, and also insufficient intake of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.


Low Blood Pressure

Hypotension: Low Blood Pressure (LBP: lower than 90 mmHg SYS or 60 mmHg DIA)

Some people might have cases where they have more trouble generating a healthy blood supply into their system, causing many issues that can eventually lead to stroke, heart, endocrine, and even neuro problems.


Some causes for LBP:


  • Nutritional deficiencies

  • Blood loss (causes decrease in blood volume)

  • Lack of sleep

  • Certain medications

  • Pregnancy

  • Neurally mediated hypotension

  • Heart or endocrine problems

  • Severe infection- septic shock

  • Allergic reaction- anaphylactic shock


Common side effects in LBP are:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Fainting

  • Nausea

  • Dehydration and unusual thirst

  • Depression

  • Lack of concentration

  • Blurred vision

  • Cold, clammy, pale skin

  • Rapid, shallow breathing

  • Fatigue

How to Prevent Unhealthy Blood Pressure

Not having a healthy blood pressure is very hard to get through, and you want to make sure you are capable of maintaining a healthy BP. Preventing HBP and LBP both correlate in similar ways, depending on the person. Some ways of maintaining a healthy BP would be: limit alcohol consumption, get more exercise, evaluate any medication being taken to see if it has a cause to your symptoms, don’t get up too fast, elevate head while sleeping, move around to prevent from staying in a certain position too long, avoid prolonged exposure to hot water, maintain a healthy diet such as smaller and more frequent meals, reduce (HBP) salt intake or slightly increase it (LBP).

Problem

Do age and diet affect blood pressure?

Hypothesis

If the person is older with an unbalanced or unhealthy diet, then they will have a high blood pressure.

Parts of Experiment

Variables

  1. Dependent: blood pressure

  2. Independent: age, diet

  3. Control: people

  4. Experimental Group: people being tested

  5. Factors Held Constant: sphygmomanometer

Materials

  • sphygmomanometer

  • 5 children

  • 25 students

  • 20 adults

  • pencil/paper to record

Procedures

  1. Get a list of all the people you are going to test, and collect their consent forms (for students).

  2. Record their blood pressure after taking it with the sphygmomanometer, then record the systolic and diastolic measurements.

    1. To healthily measure their blood pressure, wrap the sphygmomanometer about an inch above their elbow and squeeze it to where it is slightly tight. Get them to sit down with their elbow leaning against something and stay completely still without talking or moving.

  3. Make them record what they've eaten and analyze if their diet is healthy or not.

  4. Write down the age of the person being tested.

  5. After gathering all the data, observe and analyze them.

  6. Write down these observations and evaluate the data to compare the results.

Observations

  • The more body capacity, the higher the blood pressure.

  • Non-healthy diets had some unusual changes.

  • Some athletes had higher BP.

  • The adults had higher BP’S.

  • Atmosphere that people were in seemed to affect the stillness while being tested.

  • One slight bit of movement affected the blood pressure by a lot (had to retest).

  • People with a lack of sleep seemed to have lower blood pressures.

  • People who ate at school had higher blood pressures.

Data

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Cont. of Table 1

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Calculations of Data

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Age Evaluations

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Diet Evaluations

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Final Conclusion of Data Calculations

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Separate Tables

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Cont. on Table

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Trend

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Statistical Analysis

Diet- When comparing categorical values (Y/N), the best way to compare is by averaging the variables. Since diet individually corresponds to SYS or DIA, you find the mean of them separately then analyze it. Like stated in the hypothesis, people with unhealthy diets have a higher average in SYS and DIA than people with healthy diets. This is not only a statistically true comparison, but also logically.


Age- When comparing the correlation of age to SYS, there is a positive correlation since 0.72 is close to positive 1, and same with age to DIA (0.58 close to positive 1). Since they are both increasing at a close rate, age therefore correlates to SYS and DIA combined.


Analysis

It must be very fascinating to see how there are many factors that can affect a person’s blood pressure, but how do we know what the true factor that affects it is? This is the reason this experiment took place, to take two of those factors and compare how both of them showed effects on blood pressure trends. While the data with the diets seemed to be a bit more of strict answers, it fluctuated within the ages. Going back to the data tables, observe the evaluations of the age and diet separately. Yes, hypotension is seen more in teens, but that also has to do with certain mental phases they tend to go through at those ages. Hypertension on the other hand made a huge difference in age and diet, both increasing the BP more than young and healthy people. Prehypertension would tend to have more to do with the situation that being is in at the moment since it is observable that diet didn’t have an impact and they were in the teen and adult ages. Finally, children and teens have a higher RATIO of normal BPs compared to adults, and are more than double from healthy to unhealthy people. It is agreeable that someone with unhealthy eating habits would end up with an unhealthy trend of blood pressures, but how is it to know when it comes to age? With common sense, children are still young people that have body’s that are constantly growing, but once puberty hits the massive stage of change comes which would fluctuate the body style. As an adult, you are no longer growing, meaning your blood pressure depends on your health and capacity as an elder in general. The youngest children would seek to have lower blood pressure measurements than that of very old people, but with teens it would also depend on your body style.

Conclusion

Yes, there will always be hundreds of factors that could be reasons for blood pressure to increase or drop, but the point of this experiment was to view the main correlation between the two and how they both affect it. My hypothesis was proven correctly in the fact that older and unhealthier people would have higher blood pressures, but there were also some young healthy people that had slightly higher blood pressures. While testing, it was observed that the younger people who had higher blood pressures also had greater body mass than others. It can come to the conclusion that elders will come to more health problems that can fluctuate the results, but at the end of the day they were at greater risk of hypertension (HBP) compared to others.

Sources of Error and Inaccuracies

This experiment could be considered successful in the fact that the hypothesis was proven correct, but there’s always glitches in every experiment. One factor that would pull this experiment together would be the accuracy of the people’s diets. There is no way to prove what the people being tested had really had a healthy diet or not, but this went off of the strict data collected.

Application

This experiment would be efficient and very helpful when thinking about real life situations. First of all, it is important to know the ways of calculating and analyzing systolic and diastolic measures when taking blood pressure. There is a common misconception of the meanings of these two numbers, but it is crucial to know what each stand for. The knowledge of understanding these measures will then allow you to evaluate if it’s a normal, prehypertension, hypertension (HBP), or hypotension (LBP) blood pressure. Without knowing the blood pressure maintained, it is very difficult to find problems throughout the body or know how to reduce the symptoms if needed. When reading the lab report, the information of each type of blood pressure, causes, symptoms, and ways to prevent these BPs would be absorbed. After testing the correlations between age to blood pressure and diet to blood pressure, there is then even more proof that they both affect BP.

Improvement

There are many improvements that can be brought upon any experiment. For this one in particular, what would strengthen the experiment would be to replace the testing of diet with weight. It is very difficult to particularly test every single person to see if they have a healthy diet, and graphing weight would also be easier when it came to comparing it to age. To replace weight with diet, it would also change the statistical analysis to where there would be the use of correlation comparison instead of both mean and correlation comparisons. Unfortunately, there is only a way to graph all the data for age, but only able to graph the means of the other set of data for diet, not all of it. This is again another reason to switch to age and weight.

Bibliography

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Dotinga, Randy. "Even a Little Excess Weight Can Boost Blood Pressure: Study – WebMD." WebMD. WebMD News from HealthDay, 10 Sept. 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20140910/even-a-little-excess-weight-can-boost-blood-pressure-study>.


National Institutes of Health. "In Brief: Your Guide To Lowering Your Blood Pressure With DASH." In Brief: Your Guide To Lowering Your Blood Pressure With DASH. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2014. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/hbp-dash-in-brief-html.htm>.


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Beckerman, James. "Low Blood Pressure Causes, Symptoms, Normal Ranges, & More." WebMD- Heart Health Center. WebMD, 9 Mar. 2014. Web. 28 Sept. 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/heart/understanding-low-blood-pressure-basics>.


Klodas MD, Elizabeth. "Causes of High Blood Pressure: Weight, Diet, Age, and More." WebMD. WebMD Medical Reference, 6 May 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/blood-pressure-causes>.


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