Studies show that 30% to 50% of people aged 50 and above have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. This is a situation that occurs when your blood consistently pushes against its vessels with too much force. The World Health Organization reported that high blood pressure is among the leading causes of premature deaths globally.
This condition is often referred to as the killer disease because it doesn’t usually display symptoms and can develop slowly without your knowledge. Most people often realize they have it when it has done a lot of harm to the heart and arteries. The statistics mentioned show that seniors are at high risk of getting hypertension. Therefore, it is essential to know how older adults can manage and treat high blood pressure.
How high blood pressure look like for seniors
Two numbers are normally used as a representation of your blood pressure. An example is 148/70 mm Hg. The first figure is referred to as systolic pressure, and it is a measure of the pressure resulting from your heart pushing out blood when it beats or contracts. The next figure is the diastolic pressure, which reflects your blood pressure when your heart is relaxed between beats.
120/80 reading is normal blood pressure.
It is essential to know that the figure usually fluctuates according to the state you are in. For example, it gets low when you are sleeping and gets high when you are active or excited. However, if this number consistently goes up, then there’s a possibility that you might develop hypertension. If it gets to 140/90 and above, then you have high blood pressure.
With the help of adult day care software, providers and caregivers can record and document the blood pressure of seniors in their care. And by doing this, history taking and planning of the right care becomes an easy task.
Causes of hypertension in older adults
We have primary and secondary high blood pressure. Our blood pressure rises with age because the vessels lose elasticity and become hard. That is why more seniors have high blood pressure compared to the rest of the population. However, there is no particular cause for this type of hypertension. It is thus referred to as the primary one.
Some medical conditions put one at risk of getting high blood pressure. This case falls under secondary hypertension. Some of these conditions include obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease.
High blood pressure treatment for seniors
1. Healthy Lifestyle
Once you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, the first step your doctor will take is to tell you to change your lifestyle. Things like losing weight can help to lower your blood pressure. Other healthy habits you can adopt to treat hypertension include stopping smoking and drinking, reducing your salt intake, getting a good night’s sleep, engaging in exercise, managing stress well, and eating a healthy diet full of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
It is vital to consult your doctor on how you can adopt some of these habits like exercise to avoid situations where you go overboard with 3 hours of it and end up collapsing. Your doctor can guide you on how to incorporate them into your life.
Your blood pressure may go back to normal after one or two months of living a healthy lifestyle. However, if it doesn’t, your doctor will be forced to put you on medication.
There are so many medications used to manage high blood pressure in older adults. Don’t be discouraged when it takes time to get medication that works for you. Your doctor may prescribe different medicines or a combination of them before finding the most suitable for you.
Examples of these medications include beta-blockers, diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Beta-blockers enable the heart to use less force while beating. Diuretics help the kidney to do its work of removing excess salt and water from your system. ACE inhibitors prevent the production of angiotensin, which is a hormone that thins the blood vessels hence causing hypertension.
High blood pressure in seniors is a reality that many individuals face. The condition has a high mortality rate, which makes it dangerous. However, it can be managed. When you work with your doctor, you can learn how to manage it even if it involves making a few changes to your lifestyle.
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