How do you know you're getting older? Aches, pains, wrinkles?
"Hypertension is the major chronic condition associated with aging," said assistant professor Mohammad Asghar of the UH College of Pharmacy.
He says the answer to 'why' may reside in the kidneys of older persons, specifically the two systems in your kidneys that keep your sodium intake in balance.
"We are trying to find out the mechanism why, especially during aging, why these two systems are not working properly," he said.
The mechanisms are called "oxidative" and "inflammatory stressors," and are considered hallmarks of the aging process. Instead of helping the body get rid of extra sodium, something at the cellular level in the kidneys, during aging, triggers hypertension. His research is aided by a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
"The way we live, the way we eat and our day-to-day lifestyle is causing something to our body that is causing us to get this high blood pressure, even if we are not that old.
His findings support the positive role of exercise in recovering that sodium-regulated balance. The final results may have application beyond the aging population.
"Listen to your body," Asghar reminds. "There is a balance. There is always a balance."
The College of Pharmacy is part of what's happening at the University of Houston.