5 Common Causes of High Blood Pressure in Seniors

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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is considered a dangerous condition secondary to the lack of symptoms. Elevated blood pressure has the potential to cause a heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. In addition to the natural aging process, hypertension may develop for other reasons that are within an older adult’s ability to control.

1. Obesity

Being extremely overweight is considered one of the main reasons older adults develop hypertension. Obesity has a variety of negative effects on the body that lead to high blood pressure. The excess weight causes the heart to work harder, which triggers the sympathetic nervous system to release adrenaline. The hormone then increases blood pressure. The kidneys have a tendency to retain more water and salt, which increases blood volume and puts more pressure on blood vessels. Elevated sodium levels have also been shown to cause arterial rigidity, which inhibits blood vessels from relaxing. Thus, maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight is essential to normalize blood pressure. 

Even seniors with mobility issues or health challenges can still lose weight, especially with the help of a trained professional caregiver. Pembroke Pines senior 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.

2. Unhealthy Diet

A diet high in fat, salt, and sugar has an effect on blood vessels. Fatty foods contribute to elevated LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which have the potential to create plaques that interfere with blood flow. Many seniors develop salt sensitivities that lead to fluid retention and increased blood volume along with subsequent hypertension. Sugar is known to cause vascular inflammation, which stimulates physiological responses that interfere with normal blood flow. Older adults need to avoid processed foods and consider adopting the DASH diet to prevent or correct high blood pressure. 

If you’re the family caregiver for a loved one and you find it challenging to have the time to prepare the healthiest meals, 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. Pembroke Pines 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.

3. Sedentary Lifestyle

A lack of regular physical activity leaves the cardiovascular system weakened and prone to stress when expected to perform normal activities. Seniors are advised to get up to 150 minutes of exercise or moderately strenuous activity each week to maintain cardiovascular health. Seniors who have led a sedentary lifestyle need to start slowly but make an effort to become more physically active.

4. Dehydration

Older adults who take diuretics, perspire excessively, or don’t drink enough fluids are at risk of becoming dehydrated. When the vascular system doesn’t receive adequate hydration, the blood thickens, which requires more effort on the part of the cardiovascular system to achieve circulation. Seniors need to take into account the amount of water or juices they drink each day. They might need to limit or avoid caffeinated beverages to normalize body fluid levels.

5. Smoking

The chemicals used to process tobacco are toxic to the body. Along with nicotine, the compounds raise heart rate and blood pressure via constriction. Seniors who smoke need to find a way to quit the habit. 

Many seniors who have difficulty managing their blood pressure on their own find that a professional caregiver 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 elder care. Pembroke Pines families 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. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (954) 374-8273.