Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a serious health condition that affects many seniors. No matter the age or physical condition, many seniors can take matters into their own hands, working to prevent high blood pressure and its dangerous effects. The following eight tips can help seniors and their caregivers prevent high blood pressure, or lower blood pressure when it is already a health condition.
1. Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is one of the top causes of high blood pressure, and losing the extra weight is one of the best ways to begin lowering blood pressure. Seniors who are overweight can start to shed pounds by utilizing portion control at every meal. Cutting back on snack foods and cola is also a quick and easy way to lose weight.
2. Seniors should try to plan meals with heart health in mind. Eating healthy fruits and vegetables is a great way to remove extra cholesterol and saturated fats from the diet.
3. Seniors should decrease salt and sodium in the diet. One of the best ways to understand sodium content in food is to read the food labels and correctly interpret their meanings. The United States guidelines for sodium intake suggest that people eat no more than one teaspoon of salt each day. For seniors who eat a lot of takeout foods, try choosing items on the menu that are low in salt and sodium.
4. Seniors who consume alcohol should limit their intake each day. High amounts of alcohol can increase blood pressure dramatically.
5. Seniors should exercise each day. Physical activity is a key piece of the puzzle when preventing or lowering blood pressure. Seniors need not partake in extreme exercise, but taking a short walk each day can make a big difference in blood pressure readings for seniors.
6. Do not smoke. It is a proven fact that smoking increases the chances of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, stroke and several different forms of cancer.
7. Seniors must always keep appointments with a primary care physician. A doctor can interpret signs and symptoms of high blood pressure accurately, making it possible to prevent the condition completely. Physicians can also explain to seniors what blood pressure readings really mean and evaluate their health conditions as needed.
8. Seniors must always take prescribed medications as directed. When a doctor prescribes blood pressure medication for a senior, it is vital to follow their directions. Seniors should understand what the medication is supposed to do, how often to take the medication, if the medication will interfere with other types of medication they are currently taking and any side effects the medication may cause. Seniors are encouraged to ask their doctor or pharmacist questions if there is any confusion or doubt when it comes to taking the medication properly.