HBP has some severe implications. Our heart pumps blood to our body through arteries, putting pressure on them. When the pressure on arteries becomes too high and stays that way consistently, this condition is called high blood pressure. It increases the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
Hypertension can cause heart disease and stroke, making it the main contributor to the leading causes of death in the USA. According to the CDC, almost half of the adults in the USA have hypertension. People don’t even know they have HBP because its symptoms are not apparent until the situation gets serious, which is why HBP is often referred to as a silent killer.
As we grow old, our chances of developing hypertension increase, leading to higher chances of developing several other serious diseases. It is a significant concern for adults aged forty or older. Here are five ways a person above forty can lower their blood pressure.
Monitor Your BP:
The best solution is to regularly check your BP and find out early if your BP is high, and control it right away. You can do it at home. All you need is the BP checking apparatus and learn how to take your readings from a healthcare provider. The BP readings indicate whether your current lifestyle habits add to the problem.
You can go to a healthcare provider to get your BP checked too. You can choose a healthcare provider, like a doctor or a registered nurse (RN). An RN is a registered nurse who has given her licensure exam NCLEX but can improve their professional standing with an ADN or BSN online or regular degree programs to advance their expertise and know-how. A BSN degree increases a nurse’s credibility and professional skills in patient care technology, safety, and quality. You can ask a nurse to teach you how to take your readings at home, what to do if you have high BP, how to avoid this situation in the first place, etc. The key is to check it regularly to take timely action.
Lose Extra Pounds:
The root cause of many serious diseases, including HBP, is unnecessary weight gain. Sometimes health issues resulting from weight gain become a cause of HBP too. For example, disrupted breathing during sleep, i.e., sleep apnea is a common issue behind excessive weight gain. It raises blood pressure and makes your heart beat irregularly. Losing weight is the key to reducing your risk of high blood pressure.
You can start by losing weight gradually but consistently if you are overweight. For every 20 pounds you lose, your systolic blood pressure will lower by 5 to 20 points. Even losing 10 pounds for a fat person is very helpful in lowering blood pressure. If your BMI is not between 18.5 and 24.9, you need to lose weight, as your BMI is unhealthy.
It would be best if you also focused on your waist size. Most people carry extra weight around their waist, contributing to weight-related problems. Your waistline is an indicator of the degree of HBP risk you face. Generally, a waist measurement greater than 40 inches in men means they are at risk of HBP, and if the waistline measures more than 35 inches in women, they are at risk. These measures do vary for people from different ethnicities. It’s best to consult a healthcare provider to guide you about your weight situation.
Be More Active and Work Out:
Over the years, extensive studies and research have shown that exercise lowers blood pressure. Aerobics and resistance exercise lower blood pressure in men. Moreover, a study shows that sedentary older adults who took part in aerobic exercise training could lower their blood pressure by an average of 4.5 diastolic and 3.9 percent systolic. These results are similar to those from some blood pressure medications.
The logic here is that our heart rate increases during exercise or intense activities. And when we exercise regularly, we increase our heart and breathing rates. All this leads to a stronger heart. A healthy and strong heart can pump blood without much pressure and effort. Thus, regular exercise is like regularly training your heart to be stronger. A strong heart means less strain on arteries and controlled blood pressure.
The American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, and American College of Sports Medicine all recommend moderate to intense exercise or physical activity for at least 40 minutes three to four days a week. It doesn’t mean you have to run marathons. You can simply increase your physical activity like taking the stairs, walking instead of driving, biking, gardening, etc., just do it consistently. Several ongoing studies show that, for older adults, even light physical activities are great at lowering blood pressure.
Reduce Sodium Intake:
Studies show that high sodium or salt intake is linked with high blood pressure issues, leading to stroke, cardiac arrest, etc. Recent research shows that even though salt is the prime culprit leading to high blood pressure, the issue lies in how some people process sodium. Studies found that about half of the people with high blood pressure problems and even those with normal blood pressure levels are sensitive to salt.
So even if you have normal blood pressure levels but are sensitive to sodium, this increases your chances of high blood pressure. If you already have an HBP problem, you must reduce salt intake to lower your blood pressure. It would help if you were cautious of your salt intake and tried to reduce it as much as possible.
Eating healthy goes hand in hand with lower BP. What you consume directly affects your heart. While some foods are instantly linked to increased blood pressure, some help lower high blood pressure. You should consume a healthy, well-balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, whole grains, etc.
But for low blood pressure, it’s necessary to consume foods with a low sodium content, added sugar, saturated fats, and cholesterol. Consume foods rich in potassium and magnesium, and eat dark chocolate and berries. You can opt for the DASH diet to lower your BP, as it’s designed for this exact purpose. DASH stands for ‘dietary approaches to stop hypertension.’ Consult a healthcare provider regarding the DASH diet or your diet in general.
As a person ages, their chances of developing high blood pressure increase. If you are forty or above and are concerned about your high BP, you need to make vital decisions to alter your lifestyle. It means reducing intake of processed and high cholesterol foods, reducing salt, and making healthier choices in your diet. Reducing weight with diets or an active lifestyle can help counter rising blood pressure. You can approach a doctor if you need to control your blood pressure and plan to go on a DASH diet. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help lower your blood pressure and lead a healthy life.