It’s Hypertension awareness month we thought we’d share a few tips for seniors to raise awareness and help avoid hypertension.
Also known as high blood pressure, hypertension is a serious medical condition that should never be ignored. Untreated hypertension increases a senior’s risk of heart failure, heart disease, strokes, aneurysms, dementia, and many other serious health conditions.
Sometimes this condition is caused by irreversible genetic disorders. However, the majority of seniors can help prevent high blood pressure by sticking to healthy lifestyle habits.
Here are a few tips to help you lower your risk of hypertension:
1. Keep an Eye on Your Blood Pressure
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, start tracking your blood pressure right away. Purchase a high-quality blood pressure monitor and test your blood pressure twice a day. You can also check your blood pressure for FREE at your local pharmacy. Talk to the pharmacist if you have any questions.
Keep a good record of the test results. Whenever the readings seem unusual, write down all of the extenuating circumstances, such as what you have eaten that day and how much sleep you got the night before. This information will be invaluable to the doctor when coming up with a long-term treatment plan.
2. Maintain A Healthy Weight
Staying within a healthy weight range is best for everyone but for seniors who have been diagnosed with hypertension, it's particularly important. Obesity is one of the leading causes of sleep apnea, and sleep deprivation has a major impact on blood pressure.
Eating plenty of fresh produce, cutting out junk food, and exercising for 20 to 30 minutes a day can help you lose weight. Most heart-healthy diets focus on leafy green vegetables, lean sources of protein, and whole grains. Be sure to speak to your healthcare team for some helpful and healthy tips.
3. Cut Back on Alcohol
Alcohol can also interrupt sleep patterns. Studies show that seniors who consume alcohol just before bed have difficulties entering into REM sleep, which increases their risk of hypertension.
As a general rule, seniors should have no more than a few servings of alcohol every week, and those drinks should never be consumed just before bed. The elderly also need to avoid alcohol altogether if they take any other medications that slow their breathing or heart rates.
4. Drink More Water
Believe it or not, staying hydrated is another simple way for seniors to keep their blood pressure under control.
Did you know that after drinking a large glass of water, the body will try to retain as much sodium as possible? This helps to balance out blood pressure levels. When you are dehydrated, your blood pressure may become very high as the vessels and arteries constrict.
You may not feel thirsty but the average senior needs to drink at least 64 ounces of water every day. Be sure to increase this amount when it’s warm or when you are active (walks, gardening, exercise, etc).
May is Hypertension Awareness Month! High blood pressure is known as the silent killer, but the good news is that medication and lifestyle changes can help lower blood pressure and keep it under control. Be sure to talk to your doctor regularly about blood pressure.