How Seniors can Avoid High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is commonly known among medical professionals as a “silent killer”. According to the AHA (American Heart Association) about one in three adults have high blood pressure. The problem is that many of those people are unaware that they have this potentially lethal condition because they show no symptoms of it.
By making healthy lifestyle improvements and getting checks up regularly, you can help prevent getting high blood pressure, or improve the condition you already have. You can also reduce the possibility of developing advanced problems such as heart disease or heart failure. The two most important ways to help keep blood pressure down is diet and exercise. These simple and effective changes can help you or your loved one live a happier, longer and healthier life.
Just like most health conditions, high blood pressure can be largely influenced by what you eat. The first thing you need to cut out of your diet is food that is high in sodium. Sodium is the biggest culprit for raising blood pressure, and many Americans consumer significantly more sodium than they should. Strive for no more than 2,000 mg of sodium a day. The best way to keep your blood pressure down is to maintain a low-fat, low-sodium diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables. Here is a list of four of the “super foods” that will help keep you and your loved ones stay healthy.
- Berries. Just one serving of blueberries a week can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Raspberries and strawberries can also help protect against hypertension.
- Cereal. Having a bowl of whole-grain and high-fiber cereal such as oat squares, shredded wheat, or bran flakes can significantly reduce your chance of developing high blood pressure.
- Potatoes. Finally a reason to eat more potatoes! Baked potatoes are high in potassium and magnesium, which are very important. Researchers found that the number of adults with high blood pressure could fall by more than 10 percent if they boosted their Potassium intake. Other foods that are high in both include bananas, spinach, nonfat yogurt, halibut, soybeans, and kidney beans. Many older Americans do not get enough magnesium in their diet, so try adding as many as these things as you can.
- Dark Chocolate. Eating a one-ounce square of dark chocolate daily can help lower blood pressure, even with people who already have hypertension.
Exercise and weight control is also crucial to remaining healthy. Seniors can make simple changes to their daily routine to help ensure they are getting enough exercise. These changes can include walking around more often or just engaging in household chores. In addition to strengthening your heart, exercise also helps your maintain weight and decrease your stress. Find an exercise routine and schedule that works for you, and stick to it. You’ll see the improvements in your mind and body immediately.
Other Positive Lifestyle Changes
There are many other factors that affect your blood pressure besides your diet and exercise routine. Smoking and drinking are very bad for the heart and can make your blood pressure skyrocket. If you want to maintain a healthy blood pressure, don’t smoke, avoid stressful situations, and only consume alcohol in moderation, if any at all.
High blood pressure is one of the most common and most dangerous conditions for seniors. It increases the risk of serious diseases including heart disease and stroke. Other risks of high blood pressure include heart failure, kidney damage and risks of developing a variety of other serious conditions.