high blood pressure

Aging and high blood pressure seem to go hand in hand, with the risks escalating for those over age 65. Once a senior reaches age 75, an average of 67% and 79% will face the challenges of high blood pressure. And the resulting consequences can be grave: from chronic stroke, heart attack and heart failure to kidney problems and even death.

There are, however, a variety of ways to help reduce blood pressure levels. Compassionate Nursing Services’ St. Louis home care team provides these strategies to more effectively manage high blood pressure in seniors:

Lifestyle Changes

While the senior’s doctor will determine the best plan of action to help decrease his or her blood pressure, it’s commonly recommended that lifestyle choices be discussed and modified as a starting point. Changes such as the examples below can greatly help improve blood pressure:

  • Exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Stopping smoking
  • Limiting alcohol consumption

Lowering stress can also be beneficial, through:

  • Meeting with a professional counselor
  • Taking time for plenty of enjoyable activities throughout the day, such as journaling, reading, spending time with friends, family and pets, and creative outlets such as painting or drawing
  • Getting the recommended amount of sleep

Dietary Changes

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 objective is to minimize the amount of salt consumed 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)

Medications

A variety of medications 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 individuals to have their blood pressure tested frequently, and to check with the doctor on a recommended course of action if high levels are detected.

At Compassionate Nursing Services, our St. Louis home care services can help older individuals remain healthy and well, right in the comfort of home. Our experienced 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 314-432-4312 to learn more.

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