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Hypertension Care: Is There a Cure for Hypertension in the Elderly?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can be problematic for the elderly because it can lead to a variety of other conditions such as a stroke or heart attack. While for most people, there is no cure for hypertension, it can be managed through changes in lifestyle and medication.

In cases where hypertension occurs due to another condition (secondary hypertension), a cure is sometimes possible through the treatment of the original condition. However, around 90 per cent of those with high blood pressure have what is known as essential hypertension. The precise causes of essential hypertension are not yet fully understood, although lifestyle and family history appear to have an impact to some extent.

Hypertension care for the elderly

If your loved one requires private care or perhaps dementia care, their carer can support and encourage them to make healthy lifestyle changes to help lower their blood pressure. If your loved one is prescribed medication for the condition, they may need help to take this correctly and to attend reviews so that blood pressure levels can be monitored regularly by health professionals.

Lifestyle changes for hypertension control:

Diet

Diet is a significant factor in controlling high blood pressure. Sometimes changes can begin to take effect within a few weeks, although other measures may take longer. If your elderly relative has live-in care, their carer will probably be responsible for cooking their meals and perhaps helping them to choose the meals they enjoy.

A live-in carer can help with cutting down salt intake in different ways, as this can help lower blood pressure. Salt should not be added to food during cooking, and carers will try to discourage your loved one from adding extra salt to their meals. It may be difficult initially, but they might find that substituting herbs and spices or black pepper for salt at the table will add sufficient taste to food.

Home care means a carer can cook healthy meals so that your loved one will not have to rely so heavily on processed foods that contain high levels of salt. Processed foods such as pies, ready meals, bread and sausages can account for three-quarters of a person’s salt intake so cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients can considerably reduce the amount of salt your loved one consumes.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are also an essential part of a healthy diet, and a carer can encourage your loved one to increase the intake and variety of these. The recommended amount is a minimum of five portions each day. Fruits and vegetables help lower blood pressure because they contain potassium which serves to counter the adverse effects of salt.

Colin and Dulcie’s story

Dulcie is 102-years-old and lives with her son Colin, his wife Mary, and her Carer Sarah. She has dementia and has had full-time live-in care for over two years.

We talk to the family about the challenges of finding the right care solution for a fiercely independent woman - and how the positive benefits of live-in care with Sarah has transformed all of their lives.

Alcohol

Your loved one should only drink alcohol in moderation. Heavy drinking can lead to raising blood pressure gradually over time.

Physical activity

Even if your loved one is unable to participate in many exercises, their carer can encourage and support them to increase their activity level of activity. They may be able to go for a walk each day or perhaps continue with a hobby they enjoy, such as gardening or dancing.

Ideally, they should include half an hour of moderate activity in their routine at least five days a week. Exercise is essential for keeping arteries flexible and the heart healthier.

Weight control

A live-in carer can help your loved one with maintaining an optimum weight by providing healthy, low-fat meals. If there is a need for weight loss, appropriate diets can be followed to reach a target weight. Doctors or other health professionals will be able to explain what the ideal weight range should be. Losing even a small amount of weight can be beneficial in lowering blood pressure.

Smoking

Your loved one should avoid smoking. Smoking can cause narrowing of the arteries in the same way that high blood pressure does. The combination of hypertension and smoking means that arteries narrow quickly, increasing the risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Medication

If your loved one’s doctor has prescribed medication to control their blood pressure, the prescription must be taken. A carer will ensure that medication and any advice given by their health professionals are closely followed. Regular elderly care reviews will reveal how effective their medication is and pinpoint any changes Necessary.

While there is no straightforward cure for hypertension, the medication and lifestyle changes outlined above can lower blood pressure and help to manage the condition. Hypertension care from a professional carer can enable your loved one to eat more healthily, increase their activity level and take their medication correctly, which can lower the risks and complications caused by high blood pressure.

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