Hypertension, raised blood pressure, is an important mediating mechanism in aging. It is caused by forms of low-level biochemical damage in and around the cells of blood vessel walls, and produces structural damage to organs and the cardiovascular system, leading to dysfunction and death. Hypertension is sufficiently harmful in and of itself that present methods of reducing blood pressure can reduce risk of mortality and clinical age-related disease, even given significant side-effects, and even given that none of these methods address the root causes of hypertension. They override reactions to damage rather than repairing damage. Repair of that damage, once implemented, should prove far more effective.
One of the ways in which hypertension damages organs is through an increased pace of rupture in capillaries and other forms of small-scale structural damage. This is particularly important in the brain, as it has only a very limited capacity to heal injuries of this nature. Cognitive decline driven by hypertension is in part a progression of tiny, unnoticed strokes, each destroying the function of a minuscule portion of the brain. Over time that adds up, and thus we might expect to