As both National Blood Pressure Month and National Stroke Awareness Month, May is an ideal time for seniors to learn more about hypertension and to talk with their doctors about the best way to improve their own health.
Though high blood pressure has many triggers, there are plenty of strategies seniors can use to help control their numbers. To help you get started, here are four simple things that can lower your blood pressure.
Doctors have been recommending the DASH diet for over twenty years. Its emphasis on several servings of fruits and vegetables each day helps to lower blood pressure and has a beneficial impact on energy and weight levels, which can drive down numbers even more.
Seniors should talk with their doctor about dietary guidelines tailored to their personal needs and easy ways to maintain any necessary changes in their daily routine.
The frozen food aisle can be one way to improve a senior's diet. By keeping bags of fruits and vegetables on hand in their apartment's freezer, seniors can quickly add spinach or peas to soups or berries to smoothies.
One of the most common ways to manage blood pressure is to reduce the amount of sodium individuals consume. The American Heart Association recommends that the average adult eat no more then 2,300 milligrams of salt daily, and for seniors that number should be even lower — just 1,500 milligrams.
Avoiding the salt shaker may seem like the best solution to achieve lower amounts of sodium, however condiments, processed foods and snack goods often contain high levels straight out of the original container.
One remedy is to carefully read labels and opt for brands with low or reduced sodium. If these foods seem too bland at first, seniors can try adding salt and then decreasing this addition over time until they naturally adjust to the taste.
Herbs and seasonings can also make meals more palatable and provide seniors the ability to control flavors according to their preferences.
Participating in physical activities is key to combating high blood pressure. Luckily, there are many ways that seniors can enjoy the health benefits of exercise while doing something they love. A few ideas include getting involved in the resident-tended garden and walking club here at Broadmoor Court or learning how to dance.
The monthly activity calendar lists opportunities for seniors to get involved with like-minded neighbors in our wellness programs. This socialization can become a source of encouragement that helps seniors continue joining in and maintaining a regular routine even on days when they struggle with arthritis pain or lack of motivation.
Lowering stress can provide a positive impact on high blood pressure. Since fatigue often makes it harder to cope with problems, getting enough sleep is an important starting place for seniors looking to minimize the effects of stress on their health.
Spending time listening to uplifting music, talking with loved ones and engaging in hobbies are also effective techniques. If seniors begin feeling overwhelmed or anxious and can't deal with their emotions effectively, it's vital that they remember they aren't alone. Both Broadmoor Court's chaplain and caregivers are here to listen and offer assistance.