High Blood Pressure is a condition that is increasingly common these days. It is on the rise due to various factors such as the changing lifestyle and diets. The highly demanding job culture these days acts as a catalyst in the development of the disease. High blood pressure is very common among elderly as it increasingly appears as you age.
If you have a parent who is old and suffering from high bp it is essential that you take a look at this article thoroughly as it provides a clear picture about high blood pressure and the methods in which you can take care of someone who is affected by it.
What is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure simply means the pressure your blood exerts on the wall of your arteries. Blood is circulated throughout the body with the help of arteries, the heart pumps the blood into your arteries giving it the required amount of force to spread throughout your body. Medical known as hypertension, high blood pressure is a condition wherein the pressure exerted on your arterial walls increases from the optimum scale.
High blood pressure is highly dangerous if left unchecked, it increases the probability of strokes, heart diseases, heart attacks, and kidney failures. High blood pressure is categorized broadly into two categories:
This type of high blood pressure is often called as essential hypertension as it occurs without any particular reason. Essential hypertension is the most common type of high blood pressure and takes a long time to show symptoms. Its onset is usually during the later stages of life making it really hard to cope with when associated with other diseases that occur as you age.
The changing lifestyle and the changing type of food being consumed are considered to be the prime reasons behind high blood pressure. High blood pressure in an elderly man is usually classified under primary hypertension.
Secondary hypertension is usually a result of an underlying problem or can even happen while taking certain specific medications. The major reasons behind hypertension are Kidney Failures, disrupted sleep patterns or sleep apnea, thyroid or adrenal gland malfunction or external medications.
Secondary hypertension is fairly uncommon when compared to primary hypertension, however, if left unchecked, secondary hypertension could prove to be very dangerous to the overall health of the patient. Regular consultations and follow-ups are required in order to ensure that the problem does not cause further complications.
What are the Causes of Hypertension?
Primary hypertension has a wide range of causes, however, there is no one single aspect that can be pinned down as the most agitating cause for high blood pressure. In-depth check-ups can help you in finding out if high blood pressure is caused due to genetic problems, i.e, if high blood pressure runs in your family you have higher chances of developing it in the later stages of your life. Some of the common reasons that cause hypertension are:-
Diet plays a very important role in the overall health of any person. Hypertension has higher chances to occur if you are a person who follows a diet that is extremely rich in sodium, fat or cholesterol.
Most fast foods contain high levels of sodium as it is a very tasty alternative that can give a sense of sudden energy. Easy eat foods such as french fries have dangerously high sodium levels and when combined along with fried patty burgers it becomes a high blood pressure diet. If you are a person who consumes a lot of fast food, it’s advisable that you do a check on your blood pressure levels and if you notice any abnormalities make sure you check them out before its too late.
Chronic Health Conditions
Chronic health conditions including diabetes, cholesterol, hormonal imbalance or kidney problems can effectively cause hypertension. Listed under the category of secondary hypertension, these health conditions can prove to be an active cause for hypertension.
If you, your parents or your loved ones are suffering from any of these pre-existing conditions you should be very careful about regularly checking your blood pressure.
History of hypertension in the family is a very common contributing cause in developing high blood pressure. It’s very important that you follow if high blood pressure runs in your families. Both paternal and maternal lineage should be studied as both can be a cause to your high blood pressure.
If your parents or close relatives have high blood pressure its advisable that you stay away from a high blood pressure diet and conduct a deep study on the methods through which you can prevent or reduce high blood pressure.
Old age comes with a baggage of health hazards, however, no other condition has a higher chance of occurring than of high blood pressure. Hypertension is quite common among elderly men and women and they often resort to medication to keep their blood pressure in check.
Since exercising and diet control becomes difficult as you reach the later stages of your life, caring for elderly patients with high blood pressure becomes very tricky. You need to do a regular checkup with a blood pressure monitoring device or have regular consultations set up with a qualified doctor. Since older people are afflicted with a range of other diseases, medication could also act as a contributing factor for high blood pressure.
Smoking and Drinking
Smoking and drinking bring about a lot of changes and troubles to the normal functioning of the body. Smokers and alcoholics have a higher chance of developing hypertension as they age.
Alcohol affects your blood supply system in a drastic manner if consumed on a regular basis, so if you are a person with a history of alcoholism or if you are a chain smoker, be sure that you quit soon before you are afflicted with high blood pressure.
Blood Pressure Chart By Age
Blood pressure is usually measured by taking two specific readings. Systolic pressure refers to the pressure on the arterial walls during the heart is pumping the blood and diastolic pressure refers to the pressure when the heart relaxes. Below is a table which shows the recommended blood pressure levels for specific age groups.
Symptoms of high blood pressure are very rare as it normally occurs without any. This makes hypertension very dangerous as it can go undetected for a long period of time. However, in some cases, rare symptoms have been seen such as dull headaches, sudden dizziness, and nosebleeds. These symptoms only occur when there is a sudden spike in the blood pressure, so it’s not very smart to wait around for symptoms to show if you are in doubt that you have high blood pressure.
How to Take Care Of Older Patients with High Blood Pressure?
It becomes really difficult to cope with high blood pressure alone as the patient ages. If your father, mother or grandparents are suffering from high blood pressure, the below information can help you in helping them live a better life while fighting hypertension. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the battle against high blood pressure will never end, it will require a great deal of patience and discipline from your end to keep the levels in check. Here are some important tips that can help you:
Strict Adherence to Medication:
Taking your medicines on time before or after food is very important when it comes to dealing with hypertension. It’s often seen that elderly people keep forgetting to take their medication on time due to forgetfulness or sometimes intentionally. If you are someone who really cares about the patient’s well-being always ensure that they take their medication on time.
There is a wide range of treatment methods that are used to keep blood pressure under control most common medicines that are involved in the treatment of blood pressure are Alpha Blockers, Beta Blockers, Renin Inhibitors, and Central-acting agents. This medication comes in a hefty dosage for elder patients which often makes them feel dizzy, often encouraging them to stay away from it. Therefore thorough check must be done to ensure that the prescribed medication is taken on time by the patient.
A healthy diet can go a long way in helping to control hypertension. A diet that is richer in fiber and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help with hypertension. Also, encourage your parents to stick to a heart-healthy diet which is mainly focussed on fruits and vegetables and completely avoids saturated fat and trans fast. Also focussing on dietary approaches to stop hypertension more commonly known as the DASH diet can help keep your parents in better shape.
The amount of sodium intake should be closely monitored, if your parent is suffering from hypotension that is low bp, you should ensure that there is a prescribed amount of sodium he/she consumes. If your parent is suffering from high bp it is advisable to stay away from excess sodium. Also taking supplements for high blood pressure maintenance can help in controlling the disease.
Adopt a stress-free Lifestyle:
Make sure your elderly are living a stress-free life. Stress can have a huge impact on the overall health of elderly patients if they are already suffering from high blood pressure. Keeping them happy is very important for the success of the treatment.
Visiting them regularly and enquiring about their health and well-being brings about a sense of responsibility in them which encourages them to take their medication on time. Encourage them to remain patient and to take things slowly without stressing out. Doing regular exercises or going for walks with them will contribute to the treatment in a positive way.
Keep a Healthy Weight Ratio:
Keeping a healthy weight is important to patients with hypertension. It’s essential that you do a regular check on your weight and monitor it for variations. Consult your body mass index(BMI) approved ideal weight and work towards it.
Doing regular exercises along with maintaining a strict diet can help a lot in maintaining an ideal weight. Reducing your weight can work wonders on bringing your high blood pressure down by an increased margin. Losing a weight of one kilogram will lower your blood pressure by about 1mm Hg. Overweight or obese patients, therefore, should take extreme care in ensuring that there are no compromises made to the daily exercise regimen.
Limit Alcohol and Smoking:
If your parents are addicted to alcohol or smoking then its very important that you get them clean from the addiction. It’s important that smoking and drinking should be maximumly avoided if you are suffering from hypertension.
Alcohol can increase your blood pressure a lot, so it’s important that you restrict your parents to nothing more than a drink a day, it would be wise to reduce the frequency of daily drinking so that the addiction wears off slowly.
Monitor Blood Pressure Regularly:
Monitoring your parent’s blood pressure is very important to avoid any surprises. Blood pressure monitoring devices are widely available on the market and also can be ordered online from medlife.
Buy Blood Pressure Monitors
Quality blood pressure monitor devices are very easy to use and help you keep a check on your blood pressure on a daily basis. Please stick to the frequency that your doctor has prescribed to check your blood pressure. If your blood pressure seems normal while monitoring it with a blood pressure monitoring device that does not mean you can alter or change your course of medication.
It can sometimes be overwhelming to continually keep watch on your parents and elderly with high blood pressure, but its important that you do this for their health and long life. Always remember that they would have done the same for you. Taking vitamins for high blood pressure and other supplements for high blood pressure is a good option for taking care of your parents. High blood pressure is a chronic condition and the only way to fight is with continuous attention to each aspect of your lifestyle and sticking thoroughly to your doctor’s instructions.