How to Reduce Blood Pressure in Aging Adults

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High blood pressure is called the “silent killer,” as the condition commonly doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms. The American Heart Association reports that approximately 28 percent of people in the United States unknowingly live with high blood pressure. A study performed by Harvard researchers revealed that 15 percent of deaths in the country are directly related to hypertension. For adults over the age of 65, blood pressure readings that exceed 150/90 are considered too high. While prescription medications often alleviate the problem, there are several ways seniors can reduce their blood pressure naturally. 


Lose Weight

Older adults carrying excess body weight also commonly have high blood pressure. Being overweight or obese is known to interfere with normal breathing during sleep, which also elevates blood pressure. For every two pounds lost, seniors decrease their blood pressure by one millimeter of mercury (mmHg). 

Waistline measurement is another concern. Enlarged waistlines increase the risk of developing hypertension. Waistline measurements for men shouldn’t exceed 40 inches. For women, waistlines shouldn’t exceed 35 inches. 


Start Exercising

Guidelines indicate that older adults should strive to exercise for 150 minutes every week. This exercise regimen has the potential to reduce blood pressure readings by up to 8 mmHg. Exercises that benefit the cardiovascular system include fast walking, cycling, dancing, jogging, and swimming. Sedentary seniors can become more active by exercising during TV commercial breaks or going for daily walks at their own pace. In time, they should increase the intensity and duration of the activity.

Even seniors who face mobility issues or other health challenges can still get the benefits of exercise, especially with the help of trained professional caregivers. Elderly home 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.


Change to a Healthy Diet

Meals should consist mainly of vegetables and fruits. Include salmon, tuna, or other oily fish in your loved one’s meals up to three times a week. Fish and olive oil provide the body with cardiovascular-protective omega-3 fatty acids. Choose poultry over beef when possible. Serve low-fat or fat-free dairy products as well as nuts and whole grains. Avoid serving processed foods, which are often high in saturated fats, salt, and sugar. Saturated fats raise LDL cholesterol levels, which could lead to vascular blockages. Older adults are often sensitive to salt, which raises blood pressure by causing fluid retention. Sugar is known to cause inflammation. A healthy diet reduces blood pressure readings by up to 11 mmHg. 


If you’re a family caregiver and you find it challenging to have the time to shop for the healthiest foods, consider hiring a professional caregiver to take over your duties for an hour or two a day or a few days a month. 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. Naples respite care experts from Assisting Hands Home Care 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. 


Avoid Caffeine

Scientists from Duke University Medical Center explain that three 8-ounce cups of coffee contain 500 milligrams of caffeine. During their research, they learned that drinking that much coffee elevates blood pressure by 4 mmHg. Surprisingly, the effect lasted throughout the day. 


Listen to Music

Researchers from the University of Florence in Italy followed 28 adults diagnosed with hypertension who were currently taking prescription medications. The individuals were encouraged to listen to soothing music for 30 minutes per day while consciously slowing their breathing. After one week, the participants’ blood pressure decreased more than 3 mmHg. After one month, the group reduced their blood pressure by another point. 

Many seniors who cannot manage their blood pressure on their own find that professional caregivers can provide the reinforcement and direction they need to make lasting lifestyle changes. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of Home Care. Naples families can rely on Assisting Hands Home Care to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. To learn more about our premier in-home care plans, call us at (239) 593-4873 today.