How to Maintain Healthy Blood PressureMay 25, 2023
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most prevalent health conditions impacting older adults. According to the National Institute of Health, nearly half of all adults have high blood pressure (or hypertension). This may be a shocking statistic to many, but this is simply due to how the body changes with age. Arteries stiffen, and blood pressure goes up.
The commonality of high blood pressure certainly does not mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. High blood pressure can lead to serious health conditions such as eye problems, vascular dementia, kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. For the sake of your overall health, it is important to understand how to maintain healthy blood pressure.
What does healthy blood pressure look like?
If you are like many Americans, you likely don’t understand what the two blood pressure numbers mean when you get tested during your doctor’s appointment. Thankfully, the meaning is relatively simple to understand.
The first number, your systolic blood pressure, refers to the pressure that results from your heart contracting and pushing out blood. The second number, your diastolic blood pressure, refers to the pressure that results when your heart relaxes and refills with blood. Your systolic blood pressure should be the higher number of the two.
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)—systolic blood pressure is lower than 90 and diastolic is lower than 60. You may be lightheaded, weak, or dizzy
- Normal blood pressure—systolic pressure less than 120, diastolic less than 80
- Elevated blood pressure—systolic pressure between 120 and 129, diastolic less than 80
- High blood pressure (hypertension)—systolic pressure 130 or higher, diastolic pressure 80 or higher.
- Isolated systolic hypertension—the systolic pressure is higher than 130, but the diastolic pressure is less than 80. This is the most common type of high blood pressure in older adults and can lead to problems like shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and falls.
What raises my chances of high blood pressure?
While any individual can experience high blood pressure, there are certain factors that may heighten your chances of developing the condition. These include:
- Certain medical conditions—metabolic syndrome, kidney disease, thyroid problems, etc.
- Age—the chances of developing high blood pressure increase as you age
- Gender—men under the age of 55 have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure, whereas women are more likely to develop it after menopause
- Family history—those with a family history of high blood pressure have higher chances of developing it
How can I control my blood pressure?
Despite being so common, high blood pressure can actually be controlled through lifestyle changes. If you’re concerned about developing, or treating, your high blood pressure, start with these healthy habits.
Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen
Being overweight puts you at risk of higher blood pressure. Striving towards a healthier weight will not only help you feel good, but it will benefit your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about what the optimal weight range is for you. Then, implement lifestyle changes that will help you achieve this number.
Aerobic exercise—which includes activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming— will make the biggest impact on this health condition. Mix your aerobic exercise with high-intensity interval training and strength training. For a healthy diet, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins should be the highest priority. Make a point to reduce your sodium intake by reading the labels of what you eat.
Limit alcohol and quit smoking
Some studies show that drinking moderate amounts of red wine (one glass per day) may have a positive impact on one’s heart health. While this can’t be confirmed without a large, longitudinal study, the advice remains the same: keep your alcohol intake lower.
The same cannot be said for smoking. If you smoke any amount, it is important that you quit that habit. In doing so, you will not only decrease your blood pressure, but you’ll also lower your risk of heart disease, lung disease, and other comorbid conditions.
Make a point to get a good night’s sleep
Poor sleep quality on a regular basis can increase your chance of developing high blood pressure. You should strive to get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. If you struggle to meet that marker, you may be suffering from a health condition like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or insomnia. Talk to your doctor to find a solution to any of these problems.
Lifestyle changes can also help you get better sleep. Following a sleep schedule, limiting sugar and caffeine, and avoiding naps will all help you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed.
Take steps to reduce your stress
Chronic stress has been shown to have extreme negative impacts on your physical health in addition to your mental health. The first step in reducing your stress is determining what it is that is causing this undue anxiety in your life. Then, you can take steps to limit it. Some techniques include:
- Avoiding stress triggers as possible
- Focusing on what you can control
- Practicing gratitude
- Creating time for relaxation
Help from your doctor
If your blood pressure is a serious concern, your doctor may prescribe medication to help you lower your levels. They may also suggest you use a home blood pressure monitor to keep an eye on your levels throughout the week.
Support at home
For many seniors, maintaining their physical health all on their own is a daunting task. Thankfully, an at-home caregiver can help you live comfortably and confidently at home. At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our staff will proudly assist with any non-medical activities of daily living you require, including personal care, medication reminders, meal preparation, and more.
For more information on how an at-home caregiver can help you live with a better quality of life, give us a call at 773-274-9262. We would be thrilled to help you.
How to Show Support During Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October 2nd, 2023
How Meal Kits Can Make Caregiving Easier
September 28th, 2023
Transitioning Your Wardrobe to Colder Weather: A Senior’s Guide
September 27th, 2023
Upcoming Autumn Events in the Chicago Area
September 26th, 2023
Meditation for Caregivers
September 25th, 2023
Alternatives to Alcohol for Seniors
September 21st, 2023
Easy and Fun Fall Decor for Seniors
September 20th, 2023
Balance Exercises for Seniors
September 18th, 2023
How to Promote Independence in Your Loved One
September 19th, 2023
Celebrating Oktoberfest in Chicago with Seniors
September 15th, 2023
How to Create a Caregiving Schedule That Works for You
September 14th, 2023
How Seniors Can Easily Maintain Their Health
September 13th, 2023
Call Now! 773.274.9262