Having high blood pressure at any age is a concern, but as a senior, the condition can be more difficult to manage. Poor eating habits, an increase in stress and a lack of physical activity are all common culprits that lead to high blood pressure. What makes high blood pressure more worrisome is that there are no symptoms that go along with the condition, and by the time it has been discovered, damage has already occurred to the heart or brain. That is why high blood pressure is referred to as the silent killer.
Dealing with high blood pressure in your senior years is no different than at any age, as the key ingredients to fighting this condition include a healthy diet, regular exercise and the management of stress levels. What’s most important at this point in your life is that you are more aggressive in your treatment plan since the effects are more severe and can lead to death. Heart disease is still the number one killer, and it’s caused by factors like chronic high blood pressure and obesity.
Approximately 60 percent of seniors over the age of 60 have high blood pressure. Yet having high blood pressure is not a normal part of getting older if you have a healthy lifestyle.
What is more disturbing is that only half of elders know they have high blood pressure and even less are actively treating the condition. For these reasons, it’s important that you have your numbers checked regularly either by your doctor, a clinic or with your own machine.
If you have high blood pressure, you can easily manage and control it with these simple lifestyle changes:
– Healthy eating patterns that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins. Limit fats, saturated fats and cholesterol.
– Reduce salt and sodium in your diet. If you enjoy seasoning your food, use herbs instead. Limit processed foods as these contain the most sodium levels.
– Be physically active since this has the dual benefit of keeping your weight down and lowering hypertension. If you can’t do cardio, try yoga or stretching.
– Have a healthy weight. This will come with eating right and exercising regularly. Being overweight puts you at a collision with high blood pressure.
– Limit alcohol. Some doctors may say it’s okay to drink in moderation, which is one drink for women and two drinks for men each day.
– Avoid nicotine. Smoking has so many detrimental effects on the body, two of them being the hardening of arteries and the injuring of blood vessels. Both of these put you more at risk for high blood pressure.
Making lifestyle changes in your senior years can be most difficult since you’re probably undergoing many changes at once. You may have downsized to a smaller home, you may be suffering from other chronic medical conditions and you could be caring for an ailing spouse.
With so much stress in other areas of your life, you may find it’s easier to fall back into the slump of eating comfort foods and having a sedentary life. Yet this lifestyle will only lead to continued high blood pressure, among other medical conditions.
Also consider that by making these smart changes today, you will be helping yourself in all areas of your life. When you monitor what you eat and get daily physical exercise, you are at a lower risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancer.
You’ll also have a healthy mental attitude, in addition to boosted energy levels and immunity. It’s never too late to start making healthy changes for yourself and not fall victim to high blood pressure, which doesn’t have to be a part of growing older.