A study of two neighboring communities living in the remote Venezuelan rainforest is poking holes in the idea that blood pressure inevitably increases with age.
Residents of one community, the Yanomami, demonstrated a flat BP throughout the life course, as indicated by age-BP intercepts and slopes derived from blood pressure measurements in 72 participants aged 1 to 60. On the other hand, Yekwana participants showed average annual increases of 0.25 mm Hg for systolic BP and 0.18 for diastolic BP, based on measurements from 83 participants. Overall, the average blood pressures for the Yanomami and Yekwana, respectively, were 95.4/62.9 mm Hg and 104/66.1 mm Hg.
Both communities are inaccessible by land, but the Yekwana village is near a small airstrip, which has allowed for missionaries to visit as well as intermittent exposure to "aspects of Western lifestyle" like salt, medicine and processed foods. The Yanomami, however, "are among the least acculturated peoples in the world" and have the lowest known BP measurements of any adults, Noel T. Mueller, PhD, MPH, and colleagues wrote in JAMA Cardiology.