High blood pressure ( HBP), also referred to as hypertension, is a serious and common condition among older adults. In fact, in the United States of America, about 108 million adults ( 45%) have high blood pressure. Another bad news is, only about 1 in 4 of them control it. Globally, the statistics are similar.
|Ways Older Adults Control High Blood Pressure|
Aging causes our vascular system to change, stiffening arteries and raising blood pressure. When left untreated, HBP can increase the risk of severe conditions like:
▪ Coronary artery disease
▪ Heart attack
▪ Heart failure
▪ Kidney disease or failure
▪ Vascular dementia
▪ Vision loss
▪ Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
▪ Shortness of breath during little exercise or physical activity
10 Ways to Help Older Adults Manage High Blood Pressure
This article explores 10 things older adults can do to live a healthier lifestyle and control their blood pressure successfully and safely. Nevertheless, they don’t have to implement all these changes simultaneously as it would be too cumbersome an adjustment.
1. Monitor Blood Pressure Regularly
One vital way to manage your blood pressure as an older adult is to keep an eye on it. Note that it’s difficult to improve blood pressure which you have not been measuring.
Buy a home blood pressure monitor for daily measurements and record the results to help you track changes over time.
2. Take Medications as Prescribed
Follow instructions the doctor gives on prescribed medications to control blood pressure. Take pills promptly without skipping doses or cutting pills in half.
Consult the doctor immediately when in doubt or when faced with side effects.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight is known to raise blood pressure. Even if it’s 10 pounds, lose weight to lower your blood pressure and reduce blood pressure medication.
4. Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
If you want to keep your blood pressure low, stick to healthy eating habits.
So, embrace whole foods, veggies, a rainbow of fruits and less fat.
5. Consume Less Salt (Sodium)
Cutting down salt consumption helps manage high blood pressure as well. According to The American Heart Association recommendations, 1500mg of sodium daily is healthy enough.
6. Exercise Regularly
Older people, especially those with hypertension should moderate regular exercise to lower their blood pressure. At least 2.5 hours of exercise a week are enough.
Walking indoors or outdoors is excellent—for example, exercise in a house, mall or outside. Search around for a senior exercise program that focuses on strength and balance.
7. Don’t Smoke
Nicotine from smoking cigarettes raises blood pressure and heart rate. It also causes arteries to tighten, increasing blood pressure as well.
8. Drink Less Alcohol
When we drink alcohol, it raises our blood pressure. Older adult men shouldn’t drink beyond 2 drinks daily and 1 drink daily for older adult women.
9. Manage Stress
Try to maintain low stress levels by avoiding feelings of stress to reduce your blood pressure.
Some people use meditation and relaxation exercises to fight stress while others turn to hobbies like gardening, art, or crossword puzzles.
10. Other Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Embracing a healthy lifestyle is also a safe way to lower blood pressure. Such include getting enough sleep, hydrating yourself well, avoiding depression and more.
If these lifestyle changes fail to lower and balance your blood pressure, your doctor will prescribe medicine. You may end up trying numerous types or combinations of medicines before getting what works best for you. Remember that medicine only helps control your blood pressure but doesn’t cure it. So, you’re likely to take medicine for the rest of your life.
Plan with your healthcare provider how best to manage your blood pressure!