high blood pressure

Growing older and high blood pressure seem to go hand in hand, with the risk skyrocketing for individuals over age 65. By the time a senior reaches the age of 75, between 67% and 79% will be diagnosed with hypertension. And the resulting consequences 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. Enhanced Home Care’s Kansas City home care team provides the tips below to better control high blood pressure in older adults:

Lifestyle Changes

While the older adult’s doctor will determine the best plan to help lower his/her blood pressure, it’s typically advisable that lifestyle choices be analyzed and altered as a starting point. Modifications such as the examples below can dramatically help improve blood pressure:

  • Exercising
  • Losing excess weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

Minimizing stress can also be helpful, through:

  • Talking with a professional counselor
  • Making sure to incorporate plenty of enjoyable activities during the course of the day, such as reading, journaling, spending time with loved ones, and creative outlets such as drawing or painting
  • Getting the recommended amount of sleep

Dietary Changes

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute endorses a specific nutritional program to combat high blood pressure – the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). The purpose is to reduce the amount of salt intake and consume more of foods like whole grains, poultry, fish, beans, fruits, vegetables, 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)

Medications

A number of drugs 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 essential for all older adults to have their blood pressure checked frequently, and to consult with the doctor on a proposed course of action if high levels are determined.

At Enhanced Home Care, our Kansas City home care services can help older individuals stay healthy and well, right in the comfort of home. Our caregivers can verify that 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 913-327-0000 to learn more.