Six Tips to Lower Your Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects nearly half of adults living in the United States. High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” because the disease doesn’t have any obvious symptoms. It increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, which can result in death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one in four adults with hypertension properly manage their condition.
Although hypertension can be present in anyone, it most often affects older adults. America’s Health Rankings reports that hypertension is three times more prevalent among adults over the age of 65 than those in lower age cohorts. It’s important that older adults take measures towards lowering their blood pressure to improve their health. If you are living with hypertension, here are six tips to help you lower your blood pressure.
Schedule an Annual Physical
The first step to lowering your blood pressure is to schedule an annual physical examination with your primary care physician. Because hypertension has no symptoms, it’s impossible to know whether you have the condition without properly measuring it. Your doctor may recommend tests to confirm the diagnosis. They will also examine you for underlying conditions that may cause your blood pressure to rise. Once your diagnosis has been confirmed, your doctor may recommend prescription medication. Your doctor can also instruct you on how to use a home blood pressure monitoring device.
Lower Your Weight
Older adults who are overweight increase their risk for hypertension and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can further raise blood pressure. One of the easiest and most effective ways to lower blood pressure is to lose excessive weight. Talk with your doctor about how much weight loss is appropriate for you. Then, make a plan with your doctor to lose that weight.
Include Exercise In Your Daily Routine
Exercise is another effective strategy in lowering blood pressure. It can help you shed excess weight while also improving your overall health. The key is to exercise consistently. When you stop exercising, your blood pressure can quickly climb again. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, or as their abilities and health conditions permit. Talk with your doctor about what’s appropriate for you. Then, include exercise in your daily routine so that it becomes a habit.
Revise Your Diet
Along with exercise, eating a healthy diet can lower blood pressure and help to decrease your waistline. Fill up on fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, and lean protein. Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet and look for hidden sodium on food labels. Rather than adding salt to prepared foods, try adding flavor using herbs or spices. Cut back on caffeine and alcoholic beverages, enjoying them in moderation.
Find Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
Older adults are just as susceptible to stress as other age groups. The correlation between stress and high blood pressure is still being researched, but how you react to stress can contribute to hypertension. Those who cope by overindulging in unhealthy food or alcohol, drinking too much coffee, or smoking are only causing their blood pressure to climb. Instead, cope with stress in healthy ways. The next time you feel stressed, try going for a walk or journaling about what’s causing stress. Other healthy ways to cope with stress include practicing meditation, engaging in a hobby, or taking deep breaths.
Ensure Quality, Restful Sleep
Blood pressure typically lowers when you’re asleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, or it’s poor in quality, it can affect blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic reports that the less sleep you get, the higher your blood pressure may rise. Make restful, quality sleep a priority each night. Start by establishing a set bedtime and stick to it consistently. Avoid daytime naps and exercising in the late afternoon or evening. Eliminate caffeine past noon and try a calming tea before bed. Turn off screens an hour before bed so that you can give your mind time to unwind and relax.
If you are an older adult living with hypertension, let Visiting Angels Chesterfield-Richmond help you take an active role in lowering your numbers. We provide a comprehensive approach to senior home care, perfect for older adults who need assistance at home. Our compassionate caregivers can assist with simple lifestyle changes, such as escorting you on a walk to increase your physical activity or assisting with meal planning and preparation so that you can enjoy healthy, balanced meals. Let us become a part of your plan to lower your blood pressure. To learn more or to schedule your free consultation, please contact us today by calling 804-423-6500.