High blood pressure in seniors is a common condition in which the force of blood on the walls of the arteries is often too high. It is also known as Hypertension. According to 2017 guidelines by American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, hypertension stage 1 is a blood pressure reading at 130/80 mm Hg and above, while hypertension stage 2 reads at 140/90 mm Hg and above. Adults that are the age of 60 years and above are prone to high blood pressure. It can be dangerous if not well managed since it puts one at risk of having a stroke, impaired vision, kidney disease, and heart disease. It is known as the silent killer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), closely half a million deaths in the U.S involved high blood pressure as the leading or a contributing cause. CDC also highlights that about 45% of the adults in the United States have Hypertension and are under medication. Seniors are part of this 45%, and it could be a result of their lifestyle, family history of high blood pressure, previous medication, environment, or other medical complications. Preventing and managing high blood pressure in seniors should be a mindful thing.
Below are five tips for preventing high blood pressure in seniors.
Get active and embrace physical exercise
Physical exercise is one of the natural ways to prevent the risk of developing high blood pressure in seniors. Exercise is essential to keep your blood vessels and the heart in the right condition for blood flow. Regular exercise will gradually make your heart stronger, and thus it pumps blood with ease. As a result, you will hardly experience high pressure in your arteries as blood flows.
Also, engaging your body with some intense activities will help you lose weight and build strength in your muscles. Being obese or overweight highly increases the chances of one developing high blood pressure even in younger adults. We advise you to check with your doctor to see how much you can safely exercise and check out our blog post on 10 Safe Exercises For The Elderly.
According to Harvard Medical School, one should embrace “cardio-metabolic exercise,” which can quickly improve your hearts health, metabolism, and the overall health of your body. They also recommend one to take at least 15 minutes of intense exercise or 30 minutes of moderate exercise in a day. Physical activity also helps seniors already struggling with high blood pressure by reducing its impact on their health.
Check their Diet
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” These are words from Ann Wigmore. Healthy eating is very critical in preventing high blood pressure in seniors.
Incorporating fish meat, legumes, and little quantities of seeds and nuts regularly will be okay. Always eat five portions of fruits and vegetables each day to better your health. Stay away from margarines, eat healthy fats such as grass-fed butter.
Also, the elderly should reduce the amounts of iodized salts in their diets. High amounts of iodized salts is known to raise your blood pressure level. It is better to use Pink Himalayan Salt instead.
Avoid alcohol & stop smoking
Drinking alcohol and smoking are among the major causes of high blood pressure in both the seniors and other groups of people. Regular intake of alcohol beyond the recommended limits by seniors puts them at a higher risk of raising their blood pressure.
According to the CDC, the more alcohol you drink, the higher the risk for your health. It is recommended to take a single drink a day for women and two for men. That’s the moderate consumption of alcohol recommended by the U.S Dietary Guidelines for Americans. However, if you have not been drinking alcohol, you should altogether avoid it.
Also, quitting smoking could save seniors from blood pressure complications. Cigarette contains nicotine that gets into the blood and raises the heart rate and blood pressure. It contributes to the narrowing and hardening of the arteries’ walls, thus affecting the flow of blood within your body. In severe cases, smoking might lead to stroke or heart attack due to the damage it causes on the blood vessels.
Quitting smoking and alcohol drinking will help save your life.
Seniors are sometimes faced with stress as a result of different factors. They include the following:
*Loneliness and isolation
*A rapid change in their physical and healthy ability
*A feeling that they lack purpose. It may be as a result of retirement or losing a position in the community.
*Reduced independence. It could be an inability to live alone, unable to drive safely, reduced financial independence, etc.
The above are possible causes that could lead to stress, thus contributing to high blood pressure complications. Older adults’ bodies may have a weaker immune system, unlike young people; hence it becomes hard to respond to some of the psychological issues they face in their day to day life. It makes them vulnerable to high blood pressure.
However, seniors ought to be helped in managing their stress appropriately to safeguard their health. Harvard Medical School proposes several ways to manage stress in seniors. It includes;
2. Daily conversations
3. Regular physical checkups.
4. Seeking medical help from specialist if needed
By performing daily relaxation techniques such as mediation, and deep breathing one can help decrease their amount of stress.
If left unchecked, frequent causes of stress in elderly may increase their heartrate to accommodate stress, which can results in higher blood pressure.
Avoid processed foods and refined carbs
Everybody has his/her favorite snack. Don’t you? Most of the processed foods are known to contain high amounts of salt and preservatives. This poses a risk as it increases blood pressure by retaining excess fluids in the body.
Snacks such as soft drinks, contain additives and excess sugars to enhance the taste. This can also contribute to a high rate of blood pressure in a senior.
When eating carbs such as breads, crackers and pastas. Seniors should limit their intack of such and try to eat low-carb diets. High carbs in your diet triggers the body to produce excess insulin and leptin, thus increasing your blood sugar and blood pressure. Stay away from sugars as much as possible.
Seniors should try to reduce the amounts of sugars and processed foods. Besides, a low carb diet will always good for better health.
Finally, seniors who sleep for about 8 hours a day lower their risk of Hypertension. When your body is not getting enough sleep, it is unable to regulate the stress hormones, therefore, leading to high blood pressure. Enough sleep will significantly prevent high blood pressure in seniors
Since Seniors are prone to high blood pressure, observing proactive measures to curb high blood pressure in seniors is the best option. Hypertension is more related to lifestyle despite being caused by some other health conditions and genetic. Applying the above-discussed tips would play a significant role in helping the seniors prevent high blood pressure. Also, it always recommended you seek further help from your doctor.