Currently, blood pressure recommendations are to have it lower than 120 and lower than 80. It's estimated that 45 percent of Americans have high blood pressure. One-quarter of those people have it under control.
High blood pressure increases a person's risk of heart disease and stroke. It's important to take steps to bring it under control through diet, exercise, and medications if a doctor recommends that as a treatment plan. If your dad has high blood pressure, this is why it matters.
Understanding Blood Pressure Numbers
Under CDC guidelines, blood pressure in the range of 120 to 129 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic) or lower is elevated. Stage 1 hypertension is diagnosed when the blood pressure is in the range of 130 to 139 over 80 to 89. Stage 2 is when the blood pressure is 140 or greater over 80 or greater.
Systolic blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure within arteries during a heartbeat. Diastolic is a measurement of the pressure between heartbeats. The higher that pressure, the more risk of health issues related to the excess strain on the arteries and blood vessels.
Blood pressure does change based on activities. Your dad's blood pressure will be higher after he exercises. It is most likely lowest when he's sleeping. It may increase when he's feeling anxious, nervous, or stressed.
Blood Pressure Checks in a Medical Setting
When your dad goes to the doctor, nerves may make his blood pressure increase. Doctors know this happens. His blood pressure will probably be checked at the beginning of his appointment and again before he leaves.
If it's still high, he may be asked to purchase an at-home blood pressure monitor and take it at home where he's relaxed and comfortable. He'll keep a log and share those readings with his doctor.
For blood pressure that's consistently high at home and in other settings, a low-sodium diet is usually recommended. He may be told he needs to lose weight. He'll be advised to get more exercise if he doesn't already get in at least 30 minutes a day. A senior care provider can assist your senior with getting safe and regular exercise.
If those steps don't work, he'll probably be prescribed a blood pressure medication. He needs to take this medication as prescribed. If he's prone to forgetting to take his medications, hire senior care aides to provide medication reminders and ensure the right medications are taken.
He can have medication reminders from a caregiver who comes to his home. That caregiver provides friendship and can also help him cook meals, remind him to drink enough water, and join him on walks. Call a senior care agency to learn more.