Could lowering blood pressure be something you need to be concerned about? How would you know? Have you been diagnosed with hypertension?
If not, you may be one of a few fortunate seniors.
You see, bringing blood pressure down is not just a life-saving necessity for those who were previously diagnosed with the condition.
Could you be one of the millions who don’t even know they have it?
You can’t see or feel it. This makes it a “silent killer,” as it slowly but surely damages your blood vessels.
Including the ones to your heart and your eyes and your brain.
Which of course means your risk for heart disease, blindness, dementia and stroke increase quietly and deadly.
Since hypertension is the most potent risk factor for stroke, here's a special page on how to Prevent Stroke...
While it’s a good idea to monitor your blood pressure at home, you might want to have it checked by your doctor.
If your reading is no higher than 120/80, it is widely accepted as normal.
Numbers up to 140/90 are considered pre-hypertension.
Above 140/90 is hypertension. Your doctor will have something to say about this.
Medication comes to mind as a means for lowering blood pressure, but also this…
Lifestyle (diet, exercise, weight management) plays a huge role in treating your hypertension.
If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you may reduce, or eliminate the need for medication.
Incidentally, the main lifestyle changes required for lowering blood pressure are the same as those for lowering blood sugar --
And all three can be simple and easy to take care of. Or they should be.
I guess it all depends on how much one already suffers from the complications of hypertension and is therefore willing and ready to make the necessary changes in lifestyle.
Let’s start with diet. Healthy diet.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (2010) reported on the effect of dietary patterns on blood pressure in adults that vegetarian diets were associated with both lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Of course, Vegetarian Nutrition provides a lot more benefits than merely lowering blood pressure. But we’ll stay with the subject of this page.
Some of the plant-based foods that are especially beneficial for hypertension are
To help lower blood pressure, seniors should eat at least 5 portions of different vegetables and fruits a day. Each portion should be about the size of your fist.
Fruits and vegetables are not only full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, they also contain potassium.
This important mineral helps to lower your blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt.
Sodium is an essential nutrient that our body needs to be healthy. But a small amount will do just fine.
Reducing sodium in your diet is absolutely vital. Ask any physician worth his/her salt...
Be particularly aware of the dangers of processed and fast foods. They account for over 80 percent of sodium intake.
Older adults - that would be you and me, seniors but young at heart - experience a gradual loss of taste. So we tend to put too much salt on our foods.
Just remember, a little less salt in your food can mean the avoidance of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and severe asthma. You get the idea…
Oh, and cut back on caffeine and alcohol.
Do I need to mention smoking? Not only does it raise blood pressure - it leads to a premature and very unpleasant death.
So, if you don’t smoke, congratulations. If you do, give it up and replace it with…
Physical activity, aka exercise…
I’m saying it in different ways on the pages of this site -- information is good, but action is better. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
It can be so easy.
If you parked your car on the far end of the shopping mall lot, you will lower your blood pressure. Research says, an extra 4000 or so steps a day results in a drop of 11 points. How about that?
Want to lower it further by losing 10 pounds? The more weight you lose, the lower your blood pressure.
Talk to your doctor about a target weight - especially if you’re on medication. Then you and I can talk about achieving your goals with the caring assistance of Health Coaching.
You don’t have to do it alone. I’m here to help. This takes away your stress, which - you guessed it - is lowering blood pressure.
In fact, get your family and friends involved. Having their loving support is invaluable, and - guess again - can lower your blood pressure.
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