Older age and high blood pressure seem to go together, with the chances escalating for those over age 65. Once an older adult reaches age 75, between 67% and 79% will be diagnosed with high blood pressure. And the ensuing repercussions can be severe: from chronic stroke, heart failure, and heart attack to issues with kidneys and even death.
There are a variety of ways to help keep blood pressure levels safely under control, however. Absolute Companion Care, the experts in elder care in Baltimore, MD, suggests the following tips for better senior blood pressure management:
Though the older adult’s medical practitioner will establish the best treatment plan to help reduce the individual’s blood pressure, it’s typically advised that lifestyle choices be discussed and altered as a starting point. Adjustments such as those listed below can greatly help improve blood pressure:
- Physical activity
- Weight loss
- Quitting smoking
- Decreasing alcohol consumption
Minimizing stress can also be of benefit, through:
- Talking with a professional therapist
- Making sure to add in plenty of enjoyable activities during the course of the day, like journaling, reading, spending time with friends, family and pets, and creative outlets such as painting or drawing
- Getting the recommended amount of sleep
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute advocates a specific dietary program to combat high blood pressure – the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). The goal is to minimize the amount of salt in the diet and consume more of foods like whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, vegetables, fruits, and specifically, foods high in minerals such as:
- Potassium (cantaloupe, lima beans, pears, bananas, oat bran, mangos, tomatoes, tuna, cucumbers)
- Magnesium (Nuts, spinach, black beans, pumpkin seeds, tomato paste, whole grain cereal, halibut)
- Calcium (greens, sardines, low-fat dairy products, salmon, tofu/soy milk, almonds, sunflower seeds)
A number of medicines may be prescribed to help lower blood pressure, such as an ACE inhibitor, beta blocker, diuretic, calcium channel blockers, vasodilator, or other antihypertensive medication.
It’s critical for all older individuals to have their blood pressure checked routinely, and to check with the physician on a recommended course of action if high levels are discovered.
At Absolute Companion Care, our elder care in Baltimore, MD can help seniors stay healthy and well, right in the comfort of home. Our skilled team of senior caregivers can make sure seniors are following doctors’ orders by providing medication reminders, preparing heart-healthy meals, encouraging exercising and participation in enjoyable activities, and so much more. Contact us at 410-357-9640 to learn more.