When your aging relative has their blood pressure checked, the nurse gives the results by saying something like, “120 over 80.” The top number is systolic blood pressure. It refers to the amount of pressure blood is placing on the walls of arteries when the heart beats. Diastolic is the bottom number. It’s the amount of pressure on the arteries when the heart is at rest. Many times, when someone is diagnosed with high blood pressure, both numbers are higher than normal. However, sometimes just one or the other number is elevated.
So, if your aging relative’s diastolic blood pressure is high, is there a way to lower that number? Sort of. There’s not really a way to target just the top or bottom number. The steps for lowering either of the numbers are the same. If you’re unsure where to start in assisting an older adult in bringing their blood pressure down, below are some steps that will help.
Change Their Diet
What people eat has a big impact on their health, and the same goes for blood pressure. Seniors with high blood pressure should focus on eating a heart-healthy diet. Some foods that are included in a heart-healthy diet are:
- Fish, especially fatty fish that are high in omega-3s.
- Lean beef and pork.
- Skinless turkey and chicken.
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
- Whole grains.
Older adults should also avoid foods that are high in saturated fats and those that contain trans fats. Another substance to limit is sodium, or salt. Try to choose foods that are labeled as low in salt or salt-free. It’s also important to read nutrition labels to make the best choices for low-sodium foods.
Encourage Weight Loss
Being overweight is a major risk factor for high blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight can help to bring numbers down. In addition to eating a healthy diet, regular exercise will help with weight loss. The good news is that not only will exercise assist with weight loss, it also reduces blood pressure even in people who are of a healthy body weight. Older adults should try to exercise at least 30 minutes on five days of the week.
Senior care providers can help your aging relative to eat better and lose weight. A senior care provider can plan meals that follow heart-healthy guidelines and take the older adult shopping for the ingredients needed. Senior care providers can also make certain the meals are low in calories to assist with weight loss. In addition, senior care can increase physical activity by monitoring exercise at home, which can make older adults more comfortable exercising because they know someone is there to help them if needed. A senior care provider can also drive your older family member to an exercise class or the gym.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE IS CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN WAKE FOREST, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.