High blood pressure is a silent epidemic in the U.S. Obesity, poor diet and large amounts of sodium contribute to this problem, and the elderly are at risk for problems, especially if the diet has been poor over the course a long lifetime.
There are many dangers to high blood pressure, including kidney and heart disease. The pressure can cause problems in the blood vessels themselves, causing them to become weak. When this happens, an aneurism may develop, which can lead to a rupture. This rupture can occur anywhere in the body, but can be devastating if it’s in the brain or a major artery.
Many seniors already take a handful of medications, and it can be difficult to convince them to add more to that long list. However, it is very important that they do so. Point blank telling does not usually work, especially if you are their child. It’s also very difficult to tell them that they need to change their diets.
Because many seniors live alone, cooking is no longer something they want to do. It’s far easier to throw a frozen dinner into the microwave. If you read the nutrition facts on these dinners, you’ll see that even the healthier choices are high in sodium, which can cause blood pressure to go up.
There are several ways you can help the seniors in your life make healthy choices and avoid the dangers of high blood pressure. The first is education. Many doctors don’t have the time to explain…especially in controlling it is important. Explaining what is going on inside the body can be useful.
You should also speak with the doctor yourself. You’ll have to show the doc written permission from the senior before you can do so, due to privacy laws. Find out how high the BP is, what they’re taking and if alternative remedies could be enough to solve the problem. Sometimes, just adding garlic and omega-3 fatty acids can be enough to control the blood pressure. It is a lot easier to convince some seniors to use a natural remedy over yet another prescription.
If you live nearby, you may want to start doing some cooking for the senior in your life. This way, the fat, cholesterol and sodium can be controlled without too much of an effort on the senior. If not, see if you can find others that will do so. Many churches and other organizations can be helpful in this way.
Tact and respect are the last two suggestions for helping your senior deal with high blood pressure. This is extremely important if it’s a parent or other close relative. I’ve been told that yelling or other domineering behavior causes resentment, and “it just goes in one ear and out the other, after all, I am the parent!” Even if there is some cognitive impairment, the person is not likely to respond well to this sort of behavior. Trust me, my relationship with my mother vastly improved when I stopped chiding her. The elderly have been around a long time and think they know best and its probably wise not to disabuse them of that notion!