How To Reduce High Blood Pressure For Seniors: 8 Scientifically Proven Strategies

Blood Pressure On The Rise In Australia

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In 2016, an Australian study found that high blood pressure is the leading contributor to cardiovascular disease and stroke in Australians over 60 years of age. The same study also found that high blood pressure is one of the most common chronic diseases in Australia, with 1 in 4 adults aged 50-75 suffering from this condition. We will go through all the peer reviewed scientific journals and highlight the 5 scientifically proven strategies to reduce high blood pressure in seniors!

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood within your arteries. It’s measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), which are also called torr, and that measurement is written as 120/80 mmHg. The top number represents systolic pressure-when your heart beats and pushes blood through your vessels-and the bottom number is diastolic pressure-the lower level when your heart relaxes between beats. High blood pressure generally means a reading at or above 130 over 80.

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What is considered high blood pressure for seniors?

There is an increased risk of high blood pressure for seniors. Blood pressure can rise gradually as we age, and there is a greater chance to develop hypertension with other health conditions like diabetes or kidney disease. High blood pressure in elderly people causes the heart to work harder than it should. This puts stress on the cardiovascular system and increases your chances of developing coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure or stroke (NHS). Generally speaking, anything over 140/90 mmHg falls into this category for adults aged 65-74 years old; 110-139/80-89mm Hg for those 75+ years old; and below that range are considered normal readings.

How do you feel when you have high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is a silent and debilitating condition, so it’s important for seniors to be aware of the early warning signs. Some symptoms include: headaches, problems thinking clearly or concentrating; shortness of breath and chest pain (NHS). It can also cause severe damage to internal organs such as the heart, kidneys and brain. The reduce high blood pressure naturally through diet changes are often unsuccessful but there are many other strategies that you can use in conjunction with your doctor recommendations. Even if you don’t have any particular health concerns yet-it’s never too soon to take care of this problem proactively!

How can I maintain my blood pressure at a healthy level?

1) The first strategy is to reduce salt intake.

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It was shown that a reduction of just 75mmol in sodium per day can lower blood pressure by about one point, and this has been proven across different ethnicities.

What’s the relationship between high blood pressure and salt? The connection is simple: too much salt in one’s diet can lead to an increase in blood pressure, which leads to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Higher-sodium diets also cause water retention because they draw more fluid into the body from the digestive tract. These two factors together contribute to increases in weight that are hard on our bodies over time and make us susceptible to other diseases as well like diabetes or kidney failure down the road (Bates).

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It doesn’t mean that you have to eat bland foods, there are creative ways you can make your food more tasty without increasing your salt intake. For example you can use other spices such as paprika, cumin and coriander.

Remember to watch out for foods that are high in salt such as canned vegetables, soy sauce and french fries. To reduce your intake of these products try to switch them for fresh vegetables, tamari sauce or oven baked chips made from potatoes without added salts.

2) The second scientifically-proven strategy is weight loss if you are overweight or obese.

 

If someone drops from being overweight to a normal body mass index their blood pressure will drop on average around five points (or more than 20 mmHg).

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However it is important to note that weight loss should not be your only yardstick. More importantly it should be about the inches/ cm you are losing. This is because a person that is overweight might have more muscle mass than someone who has lost weight due to illness. Therefore it may be better in the long-term to focus on inches lost rather than pounds shed as this will show you if your body fat percentage is reducing and not just water or muscle loss.

 

You may think that exercise is going to be a big contributor – yes it is, but it’s only half the battle. In fact, if you don’t change your diet, it’s possible that the exercise will actually make you inches and pounds.

 

It’s important to watch your calorie intake and cut out junk food like potato chips, french fries or fast food burgers. Instead try adding more vegetables into your dinner such as carrots or zucchini in a stir fry with garlic soy sauce instead of salt.

3) Eat a diet rich in foods that have natural, potent anti-inflammatory properties.

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While we’re on the topic of foods. some great food choices to reduce inflammation and high blood pressure are: ginger (in tea or in stir fry), chili peppers, fruit like oranges with vitamin C, citrus fruits if your stomach can handle them well, turmeric for its strong anti-inflammatory effects, cinnamon for its antioxidant effect on the circulatory system and apples because they’re low in sugar but still contain an abundance of nutrients which is why some people say ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’.

4) The fourth strategy is to get active. 

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If you’re not getting enough exercise, there’s a good chance that your blood pressure is too high and increasing it will help reduce the problem. Studies have shown over time that regular physical activity can reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressures in as little as three weeks of starting an exercise program. One type of physical activity recommended for seniors with high blood pressure would be aerobic exercises which are moderate workouts on cardio machines or walking at least 45 minutes per day..

5) The fifth strategy which is rather unpopular is drink less alcohol.

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Studies have shown that drinking alcohol in excess can lead to high blood pressure. Alcohol is a vasoconstrictor and when people drink more than the government guidelines of one or two drinks per day, they will experience higher blood pressures on average. Some studies also show that even those who are not chronic drinkers may see an increase in their systolic and diastolic readings after heavy drinking periods such as weekends. Research found that men should limit themselves to only two drinks per day while women can consume up to one drink. This is because men are typically heavier drinkers and need less alcohol content whereas females generally require more time before they reach levels which could exacerbate their hypertension problem.

 6) Quit smoking.
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This could be hard for many but it is possible.

 Smoking causes a buildup of the bronchial passages and can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking also increases blood pressure, heart rate, carbon monoxide in the bloodstream, and risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as stroke or angina pectoris. All these put additional strain on someone’s body which can increase their chance of getting high blood pressure because they will have an increased workload on their circulatory system due to smoking’s adverse affects on airways tissue irritation causing constriction of vessels with inhalation leading to higher general levels of arousal when exposed to stressors over time.
 

7) Clock In Deep Sleep

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It’s not underrated by everyone, but it’s definitely under-emphasized for many people.

 Sleep can be a natural way to reduce blood pressure and lower stress levels in the body which are the two main causes of high blood pressure disorder development as well as increases heart rate and carbon monoxide in bloodstream with risk factors such as stroke or angina pectoris due to smoking that also increase chance getting hypertension because increased workload on circulatory system when exposed to smokers over time leads higher general arousal level when exposed to stressors so this is one program you want your patients who have hypertension should do every day!

The recommended hours for seniors are at least eight hours of sleep, but this is not always possible. Older individuals need more time to fall asleep than their younger counterparts and often have difficulties staying asleep throughout the night due to comorbid medical problems or daytime activities that might interfere with their nighttime slumber.
 
The easiest way for seniors who are experiencing trouble sleeping is to keep a regular bedtime and wake up at the same time every day. This will help regulate your natural body clock which in turn helps you feel sleepy when it’s time for bed and awake during daylight hours. If they’re having difficulty falling off into dreamland, stay away from caffeine after lunch (since it can take between six-eight hours before the effects wear off), also avoid napping during the day.

8)Perform Isometric Exercises

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What is rarely spoken about are isometric exercises. Isometric exercises are considered to be safe for seniors because they do not require any physical exertion. Isometrics have been studied extensively and found that it can reduce systolic blood pressure as much as aerobic exercise. In 1994, a study conducted by J. I. Penedo at Florida International University showed that isometric exercise lowered systolic readings as much as aerobic exercises but without any adverse side effects such (as increased risk for heart attack or stroke)

Isometric exercises can reduce high blood pressure while also improving health outcomes for seniors with other chronic diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis. Another benefit is that isometrics are easy to perform and don’t require an expensive gym membership!

Introducing The Isometric Exercise Protocol

A similar study goes further back In 1992, Ronald Wiley, a pulmonologist at Miami University in Ohio, studied the effects of isometrics on blood pressure in a group of 60- to 80-year olds. “We had them do four minutes twice a day, and after three weeks their average systolic blood pressures were down about ten points.”

What was interesting about this study was the history behind it. In the mid 1970’s the U.S. Air Force had commissioned Dr. Ronald Wiley to keep fighter pilots from losing consciousness when flying the F-16 fighter jet. This jet could accelerate so fast that the G-forces it generated made it difficult for the pilot’s heart to pump blood to the brain, causing vision problems, trouble thinking, and blackouts.

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One of Wiley’s strategies was a hand grip that pilots could squeeze to boost their blood pressure enough to maintain circulation to the brain. As he worked with pilots, he was struck by a contradiction ” Those who practiced isometric hand grip exercises for a few weeks recorded a drop in readings from 134 to 121 millimeters of mercury.

Although this initially makes blood pressure rise, because the heart is pumping harder to keep the muscles fed with a good blood supply, in the long- term it has been observed to make it fall.

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Ready to try handgrip exercises for yourself? It almost couldn’t be simpler . First what you need to do is establish your maximum hand grip strength. Once you’ve established your maximum grip, what you then need to do is squeeze that grip at 30% of your maximum effort.

Now you must be wondering how do I know what my maximum grip is let alone work out 30% of your maximum and then proceed to maintain that grip. Fret not, today you can purchase tools such as the Gripometer that is basically a digital grip that allows you to visually how strong your grip as at any given moment. You can read more about the Gripometer here.

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As you can see from our list, there are plenty of things to take into consideration when aiming to reduce your blood pressure if you’re over 60. There are many ways to reduce your blood pressure. Some strategies can be applied by everyone whereas some have to be selective given their current health situation. If you’re 60 and over , then the best thing that you should do when starting any new regime would be consulting your doctor first!

All you have to do is pick 1 and see how you go !

If you’re interested in trying natural means alone then it might be worth doing some research into these strategies or even just picking one and seeing how that goes . The most important thing is to start slowly and listen to what your body says so as not to get discouraged if they don’t work out straight away !

Things you should be mindful of when you have high blood pressure

  1. Tell your doctor about all the drugs you take.
  2. Don’t take more blood pressure medication than what your doctor prescribed
  3. Get up slowly if you were previously lying down or were in a seated position. This will help reduce dizziness and your heart rate.
  4. Make sure you are in a relax and calm environment before taking your blood pressure reading
  5. Jot down the readings of your blood pressure every single day. Share this information with your GP

What is your best strategy for reducing high blood pressure?

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