7 Proactive Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure for Seniors and Adults

High blood pressure is a condition commonly found among the elderly that has been dubbed the "silent executioner". That is because, in the early stages, it usually doesn’t show symptoms, so the person is unaware that they have it, and don’t seek treatment. Nevertheless, it eventually leads to life-threatening complications such as heart failure, ischemic heart disease, kidney impairment, and paralysis.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is a condition in which the blood pressure, when the heart contracts at full force (systolic blood pressure), is equal to or greater than 140 mm Hg., and blood pressure, when the heart is fully relaxed (diastolic blood pressure), is equal to or greater than 90 mm Hg. In the early stages, those with high blood pressure may experience periodic dizziness, headache, occipital (cranial dermal bone) pain on waking up, nausea and vomiting. Although the symptoms aren’t severe, they gradually degenerate conditions in the body leading to complications harmful to vital organs, including:

  • Brain – narrowing or blockage of blood vessels causing blood vessels in the brain to rupture leading to bleeding in the brain tissue and leading to paralysis;
  • Heart – enlargement of the heart and thickening and hardening of the coronary arteries;
  • Kidney – affecting blood vessels in the kidneys causing kidney deterioration due to insufficient blood supply leading to chronic renal failure;
  • Eyes – directly affecting the retina including bleeding. The tiny blood vessels inside the eyes may become clogged due to fluid leaks or accumulations under the retina causing the retina to peel off. This can lead to blurred vision and even blindness;
  • Atherosclerosis – causing the arteries to narrow and increasing the resistance of blood flow leading to large artery aneurysm and causing tearing and curtailment of blood supply to the limbs and internal organs.

Causes of high blood pressure include both irreversible factors such as genetics, age, sex, ethnicity, and modifiable factors such as lifestyle (regular consumption of high-fat and salty foods, irregular exercise, and others).

How to save the elderly from having to deal with high blood pressure

  1. Maintain a healthy weight measured by the Body Mass Index (BMI) (body mass divided by the square of body height, expressed as kg/m²).
  1. Reduce intake of salty and high-sodium foods such as seasoning sauces, salt-preserved foods, pickled fruits and vegetables, canned foods, and ready-to-eat foods. The amount of sodium consumed per day should not exceed 2,000 milligrams, equivalent to one teaspoon of salt. Eat a variety of foods to cover all five food groups (Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Protein, Dairy) and drink enough water.
  1. Exercise regularly. Try to choose exercise that enables you to move continuously for 20-60 minutes, such as walking, physical exercise, cycling, swimming, and others.
  1. For those who drink alcohol regularly, try to limit the amount to less than one glass per day.
  1. Get enough rest. Sleep about 7-8 hours a day and try not to sleep during the day. If you feel tired during the day, take a nap for 10-20 minutes.
  1. Mind your mental health. Relax and destress with hobbies, exercise, rest, and meditation, and stay optimistic.
  1. Have an annual health check-up to catch any diseases before they spread and receive timely treatment.

References:

• Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Public Health

• Siriraj Piyamaharajkarun Hospital

• Thai Health Promotion Foundation

• Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University

• Ramkhamhaeng Hospital

• Department of Medical Sciences