High blood pressure can raise the risk of heart attack and stroke in seniors. While the risk of high blood pressure may be greater in those with family histories of hypertension, other things such as lifestyle factors can also play a role. Here are five things that can raise your senior loved one’s blood pressure.
The risk of obesity is especially high for seniors who carry a great deal of visceral fat, which refers to fat that has accumulated deep inside the abdominal cavity and surrounds the internal organs. Advise your loved one to lose weight, and reassure him or her that losing even a few pounds can lower blood pressure.
Even seniors who have mobility issues or health challenges can still lose weight, especially with the help of trained professional caregivers. In-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.
2. Excessive Alcohol Consumption
While an occasional glass of wine may not harm your loved one’s wellbeing and may actually provide some health benefits, overdoing it when it comes to alcohol consumption can raise the risk of a cardiac arrhythmia, severe hypertension, liver disease, and renal issues. If your loved one drinks too much and is unable to curtail the alcohol consumption, see his or her healthcare provider for a referral to an addiction professional.
3. Renal Disease
When the kidneys are unable to filter out toxins and fluid from the body, fluid may be retained and cause blood pressure to rise. If your loved one develops flank pain, urinary changes, fatigue, loss of appetite, or edema of the face, abdomen, hands, or ankles, make an appointment with a physician. If renal disease is suspected, your loved one may be referred to a nephrologist, a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease. Once kidney disease is effectively treated, blood pressure may return to normal.
4. High-Sodium Diet
Instead of salting food, offer foods seasoned with spices. Following a salt-restricted diet is essential for the treatment of hypertension. However, if your loved one is unable to adhere to the diet, advise drinking plenty of fluids. Too much salt in the diet can cause fluid retention and edema, but drinking plenty of water can prevent these issues by flushing out excess fluid and toxins.
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. Green Valley respite care experts from Embrace In-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.
5. Pain Medication
Pain medications that contain ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may make seniors more susceptible to high blood pressure. These medications can cause fluid retention and edema of the hands and feet and are also thought to raise the risk of kidney issues in those who take large doses. If your loved one takes pain medication, see his or her physician on a regular basis for blood pressure checks. If the doctor determines the elevated blood pressure is the result of pain medications, he or she can suggest an alternative medication.
Many seniors who find it challenging to manage their blood pressure on their own find that in-home 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. Green Valley families can rely on Embrace In-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 stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Call one of our friendly Care Managers at (520) 625-2050 to learn about ways our experienced caregivers can help your loved one.