Tips for Handling Hypertension in Seniors

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Ways to Help Aging Adults Address Hypertension in Des Moines, IA

Hypertension, which is commonly referred to as high blood pressure, is a serious condition that can go unnoticed because it often presents no symptoms. High blood pressure can damage the heart and kidneys if left untreated and may lead to heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends seniors over the age of 65 keep their blood pressure lower than 130/80. Here are a few ways older adults can keep their blood pressure in check.

Eat the DASH Diet

The AHA recommends the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Foods low in sodium and rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium are featured in this eating plan. These minerals have been found to reduce blood pressure levels. Bananas, almonds, spinach, tofu, and low-fat yogurt are all options recommended in the diet. Sweets, red meats, and sugary drinks should be limited.  If you usually help your loved one plan and prepare nutritious meals but need a break now and then, consider enlisting the help of a professional caregiver. Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. Des Moines respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities. 

Use More Herbs

It’s easy to reach for the saltshaker to flavor foods, but doing so is hard on the heart. Salt causes the body to retain water, which creates more work for the heart and raises blood pressure levels. Encourage your loved one to use fresh and dried herbs instead of salt to flavor food. The AHA recommends those at risk for hypertension keep sodium levels to less than 1,500 milligrams per day.

Exercise

Exercise strengthens the heart and makes it easier for the organ to pump blood more efficiently, which decreases blood pressure levels. Your loved one should start slowly with activities such as walking and stationary cycling, and he or she should remember to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth regularly. Holding the breath during exercise can temporarily raise blood pressure to dangerous levels. Even if seniors have mobility issues or health challenges, they can still get the benefits of exercise, especially with the help of trained professional caregivers. Des Moines elder care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

Lose Weight

If your loved one is carrying extra weight, his or her heart has to work harder to pump the blood throughout the body, which puts a greater workload on the heart and increases blood pressure. Encourage your loved one to reduce calories by cutting out junk food, drinking water instead of soda or juice, and getting more exercise. Small steps that lead to a healthier lifestyle are better than losing weight quickly on a fad diet.

Take Prescription Medications

If the doctor has prescribed a medication to lower your loved one’s blood pressure, your loved one must take it regularly. Blood pressure medications work by dilating blood vessels, flushing out excess water, or slowing the heart rate. Because it can take several weeks before blood pressure medications work, missing doses can mean they won’t have the opportunity to work correctly. Divide your loved one’s medication into a pill organizer and check to see if he or she takes it. If getting refills is a problem, use a mail-order prescription service that automatically sends refills to your loved one’s home. For seniors who find it challenging to handle their blood pressure on their own, professional caregivers can provide support and encouragement for making lasting lifestyle changes. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of homecare services. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner in caregiving for your aging loved one. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services. 

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