Sometimes high blood pressure seems so commonplace – one out of three
U.S. adults have it – that taking care of it can fall pretty far down
the list of priorities: somewhere after your flu shot but before your
second annual dental check up.
This is unfortunate because not
only is having your blood pressure checked both easy and painless, but
it can go a long way toward helping you head off problems before they
get more serious.
Failure to control blood pressure can lead to
heart attack, stroke and other potentially fatal events. In fact,
according to the CDC, more than 360,000 American deaths in 2010 included
high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. That's 1,000
deaths each day.
Men and women are about equally likely to develop
high blood pressure over their lifetimes, but their risks vary at
different ages. The condition affects more men than women before 64
years of age. For people aged 65 years or older, more women than men
have high blood pressure.
So what exactly should we be looking for?
pressure has two numbers, systolic and diastolic, and is measured in
millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Systolic pressure (the top number) is the
force on the blood vessel walls when the heart beats and pumps blood
out of the heart. Diastolic pressure (the bottom number) is the force
that occurs when the heart relaxes in between beats.
This is how it breaks down by the numbers:
Normal: less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic
Prehypertension: between 120 and 139 systolic and 80–89 diastolic
Hypertension: 140 or greater systolic, 90 or greater diastolic
If you find you have high blood pressure, it’s time to take action:
Set a Goal: Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be and work out a plan with them to achieve that goal. Take Your Meds:
If you are having trouble, ask your doctor what you can do to make it
easier. For example, you may want to discuss your medication schedule if
you are taking multiple drugs at different times of the day. Or you may
want to discuss side effects you are feeling, or the cost of your
medicine. Quit smoking—and if you don't smoke, don't start. You can find tips and resources here or here. Cut the Sodium: Most people consume too much. The CDC has a tip sheet to reduce sodium here.
At Home Instead Senior Care of Central Oregon,
we’re firm believers that an ounce of hypertension prevention is worth a
pound of cure, that’s why we think it’s important to try to head off
high blood pressure before it begins.
Here are some of the things that anyone can do at any age to help prevent high blood pressure:
more information about the well-being of seniors, or to inquire about a
trained CAREGiver to help your senior with healthy meal preparation,
transportation to medical appointments and other things to support their
good health, please contact 541-330-6400.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
Each Home Instead Senior Care franchise is independently owned and operated.