Lower Your Blood Pressure
More than 100 million adults—or almost half of all adults in the United States—have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.
Adults of all ages can suffer from high blood pressure, also known as “hypertension,” but the condition is more prevalent in adults over 60 years old. A person with extremely high blood pressure may experience symptoms such as confusion, chest pain, and breathing difficulties. But many in early-stage hypertension are unaware that they have high blood pressure mainly because hypertension has very few noticeable warning symptoms. This is why high blood pressure is called “the silent killer.”
The New Normal
Blood pressure levels are recorded in numbers. The top number, called the systolic blood pressure, measures the amount of pressure in your blood vessels when your heartbeats. The bottom number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart relaxes between beats.
The normal blood pressure level was once 140 over 90 (140/90). In 2017, however, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association (AHA) lowered the normal blood pressure level to 120/80.
Under the new guidelines, 140/90 is now considered Stage 2 high blood pressure. Stage 1 high blood pressure is between 130 and 139 systolic and 80 and 89 diastolic.
Fortunately, you can manage your blood pressure with medication prescribed by your doctor. You can also take the following five alternative ways to improve your health and possibly eliminate high blood pressure.
1. Watch Your Weight
Excessive weight can place extra strain on your heart and raise blood pressure. It stands to reason, then, that losing weight can reduce your blood pressure. In fact, dropping more pounds can potentially get rid of high blood pressure altogether.
While watching your weight, the Mayo Clinic recommends watching your waistline, too. Excessive weight around the mid-section places both men and women at a higher risk of developing hypertension.
Generally, men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches and women whose waist measures more than 35 inches are in the at-risk category, according to the Mayo Clinic.
2. Reduce Your Sodium Intake
French fries, pizza, and ham may be tasty but these and other high-sodium foods can increase the sodium level in your bloodstream. Since salt causes the body to hold water, too much water in the body can increase blood pressure.
The AHA recommends eating lower-sodium foods like fruits and vegetables, unsalted nuts and seeds, lentils and peas, salmon and other fatty fish.
3. Keep it Moving
Regular exercise is vital to lowering blood pressure, strengthening the heart, and maintaining a healthy weight. For substantial health benefits from exercise, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity exercise. HHS recommends 75 minutes weekly (1 hour and 15 minutes) for those who want more vigorous, high-intensity exercise.
The goal is to get involved in a physical activity that you enjoy and increases your heart and breathing rates. Walking, dancing, jogging or a weekly exercise class certainly qualifies as physical activity. But so does climbing stairs, gardening or mowing the lawn. Strength training, such as weight lifting, adds even more benefits to an exercise plan.
4. Get a Grip
A growing number of scientific studies are showing that hand-grip exercises can help lower blood pressure. A comprehensive AHA report showed that hand-gripped resistance devices are estimated to lower blood pressure by 10 percent.
AARP recommends squeezing a hand-gripper for about 2 minutes at a time for about 12 to 15 minutes, three times a week.
5. No Smoking, Limit Alcohol Consumption
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption not only raise blood pressure but can lead to other serious health problems, including stroke and heart disease.
When it comes to drinking alcohol consumption, the National Institute on Aging suggests that men limit their alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks a day and women should have no more than one drink a day.
The Consequences of Hypertension
Seniors with hypertension who suffer a stroke, heart attack or other serious health condition that affects their mobility or cognitive functions may not be able to stay in their home without assistance from a caregiver.
Some older adults may have family or friends to help them but caregiving becomes difficult for those who have their own family and personal obligations. In-home caregiving agencies, like FCP Live-In, provides assistance to both family members and seniors who need care.
FCP Live-In caregivers, for instance, provide such support as helping seniors dress, bathe or take showers, go to the bathroom, and manage their medication. Caregivers also cook nutritious meals, shop for groceries, take clients to their medical appointments, and provide emotional support and companionship.
Since the fastest growing population in the United States are adults 65 years old and older, health care professionals predict an increase in the prevalence of hypertension.
Older adults, however, can avoid the serious consequences of hypertension with lifestyle changes, receiving medical treatment, and monitoring their blood pressure on a regular basis.
To learn more about in-home caregiving services, contact FCP Live-In. Call 866-559-9492.