Monitoring the cardiovascular health of a senior is essential for staying ahead of heart diseases. The American Heart Association considers blood pressure screenings to be one of the most important screenings.
A blood pressure screening is the only way to diagnose if a senior has high blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension is a major factor in adverse health conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. According to Bunny Dachs of Bunny’s Home Care Baltimore “Symptoms for high blood pressure may not present in someone until its too late. That is why it’s so important to get regular blood pressure screenings.“Early detection can make a difference in the effective treatment of the condition.
Startling Senior Statistics about High Blood Pressure
Seniors have more of a reason to get regular blood pressure screenings:
- 62% of men and 68% of women have high blood pressure in the 65 to 74 year old age group
- 76% of men and 80% of women have high blood pressure in the 75+ year old age group
- High blood pressure puts seniors at risk for heart disease and stroke which are the leading causes of death in the United States
- High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 adults in the United States in 2014
- 1 in every 3 adults have high blood pressure
- 1 in 5 adults have high blood pressure but are not aware of it
Blood Pressure Categories
What does systolic blood pressure (upper number) mean?
This number indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your heart’s artery walls as it beats.
What does diastolic blood pressure (lower number) mean?
This number indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while your heart is resting between beats.
During a blood pressure screening, seniors can fall into one of several categories depending on what their results are:
What does each blood pressure category mean?
Normal Blood Pressure
Seniors can maintain a normal blood pressure by keeping up with healthy habits like having a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
Seniors with prehypertension are likely to develop high blood pressure unless proper steps are taken to control it.
Hypertension Stage 1
Doctors are likely to prescribe lifestyle changes and may consider adding blood pressure medication.
Hypertension Stage 2
Doctors are likely to prescribe a combination of blood pressure medications along with lifestyle changes.
Emergency medical attention is required at this stage. Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness, fatigue, changes in vision, and/or difficulty speaking.
There are also several risk factors that can contribute to a senior’s blood pressure:
- Family History
- Obesity or Overweight
- Tobacco Use
- Alcohol Use
- Too Much Sodium
- Too Little Potassium
- Too Little Vitamin D
How Can Seniors Manage Their Blood Pressure Without Medication?
While seniors should always consult a medical professional before making any lifestyle changes, there are several things they can do without medication for treating high blood pressure:
- Eating more servings of fruit and vegetables
- Choosing low fat dairy products
- Cutting back on salt
- Avoiding sugary drinks and beverages
- Engaging in a physical activity such as brisk walking for 30 minutes most days of the week
- Losing even a couple of pounds if overweight can help