Hypertension in seniors: Age brings along the freedom from many a responsibility but also carries the risk of many a chronic disease. Diabetes and High blood pressure are the most typical concerns that plague our elderly.
Blood pressure is the pressure which blood exerts on the walls of our blood vessels. A blood pressure reading is typically indicated with two numbers– the first one means the pressure of the blood when the heart is pumping (called systolic pressure) and the second number indicates the pressure in the blood when the heart is resting between two beats (called diastolic pressure). Thus, the diastolic pressure is lower than the systolic pressure.
What reading is termed as high?
For an average person, a normal blood pressure reading would be 120/80, with 121-139/80-89 being prehypertension. 140/90 and anything over it is termed as high blood pressure or hypertension.
However, a slightly higher range of blood pressure (140-150/90-96) is still acceptable for the older adults. This is because the blood vessels tend to stiffen with age making it indispensable to have higher blood pressure to ensure sufficient blood supply to all the organs, specifically the heart and brain.
Effects of high blood pressure
High blood pressure can be fatal and damage the brain, heart, or kidney. Quite often, people do not even know that they are suffering from high blood pressure until some significant problem with the kidney, heart, or brain crops up. Thus, high blood pressure is also called a “silent killer.”
High blood pressure is a severe cause of concern as it can cause the optical nerve to burst, leading to blindness; kidney or heart failure can occur as the arteries bulge, especially those in the brain, legs, kidneys, and heart, leading to a stroke or heart attack.
What causes high blood pressure?
Hypertension in seniors has many causes – being overweight, medicinal side-effects, genetic tendency, prehypertension, diabetes, sedentary life, stress can all lead to high blood pressure; however, most often the cause of high blood pressure might remain unknown.
How can it be managed in seniors?
Switching to a healthy lifestyle is the only path forward where hypertension in seniors is concerned. The following changes can show positive effects
- A low-sodium diet
- Eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products
- Maintaining the ideal weight
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes daily
- Quitting cigarettes and limiting alcohol intake
- Increasing water intake to 2 liters
- Keeping stress levels low- do yoga or meditation
High blood pressure is a chronic condition, and one has to take the medications lifelong. At the same time, it is imperative to:
- Not to skip a dose
- Take medicines at the same time every single day
- Cutting the dosage short, skipping the medicines are habits that may backfire any day.
Remember, a stitch in time saves nine. Take care today and every day to avoid serious health complications later.