High blood pressure is caused when blood pressure in the arteries is elevated, meaning your heart has to work harder than it normally would to properly pump blood through your blood vessels. And according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, it’s the number one risk faster for stroke and a leading risk factor in the development of heart disease. It’s estimated that one in five people are living with high blood pressure. It is also the leading cause of death and hospitalization in Canada. While high blood pressure can develop at any age, seniors in particular are at greatest risk.
Normal Blood Pressure
Blood pressure consists of two measurements—systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure (the top number) measures the force of pressure when your heart contracts and pushes blood away from the heart. Diastolic pressure (the bottom number) measures when your heart relaxes between beats.
A reading of 120/80 is generally considered normal and not a cause for concern, while anything above 140/90 is cause for concern. However, keep in mind that what’s considered “normal” blood pressure changes as we age. For those over 80, systolic pressure should be less than 150.
It’s also important to remember that a blood pressure reading that is too low can also be caused for concern, especially in seniors. Low blood pressure results when your heart pumps your blood slower pace than normal and can leave you feeling light-headed or dizzy.
Controlling Your Blood Pressure
There are a number of factors that can cause high blood pressure including age, ethnicity and gender, as well as lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and smoking. Regardless of what’s causing your high blood pressure, it’s important to take the follow steps to keep it in check:
- Have regular check-ups with your healthcare provider.
- Take any prescribed blood pressure medications as prescribed.
- Lower your intake of sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day.
- Eat a healthy diet low in salts and fats, and high in vegetables, fruits, grains, lean meats, nuts and oils.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, losing 5 to 10% of your total body weight can have a dramatic impact on your blood pressure.
- Stop smoking and limit alcohol to no more than 2 drinks a day for women and 3 drinks a day for men.
- Exercise regularly and maintain an active lifestyle.
Stay Active as You Age at Symphony Senior Living
At Symphony Senior Living, we make it easy for seniors to stay active, social and healthy as they age. From regular programs designed to keep seniors moving, to our home-style, healthy meal options, seniors can live an easy, worry-free, independent lifestyle. Ready to learn more? Contact us today for more information about our senior living options and services or to schedule a tour.