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    Worried about your elders’ high BP issues? An expert answers commonly asked questions

    By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 23, 2023

    Is the elderly in your home easily exhausted by simple tasks such as climbing stairs or carrying groceries? If so, it’s important to recognize that this level of fatigue is a reality for many individuals who have been diagnosed with heart-related ailments like high blood pressure (BP). The significant issue with high or low BP is that it can often go undetected for years.

    In India, it is estimated that one in eight people suffer from high blood pressure, according to the National Health Survey of 2017. High BP has become one of the leading causes of premature death, directly responsible for around 50% of strokes and 25% of coronary heart disease-related deaths.

    With regards to high blood pressure in the elderly, there are several questions that continue to circulate in our minds. For this reason, we reached out to Dr. Anup Taksande, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road, to provide answers to these common inquiries.

    Why is high blood pressure called a ‘silent killer’ for elderly patients?

    Detecting high blood pressure at an early stage is crucial. Often referred to as the “silent killer,” high blood pressure may not present any symptoms initially. However, it can significantly increase the risk of heart disease, heart failure, and stroke in senior citizens.

    What are the symptoms of high blood pressure in elderly people?

    Symptoms of high blood pressure in the elderly can include severe headaches, nosebleeds, chest pain, vision problems, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, blood in the urine, fatigue, and confusion. If any of these symptoms occur, immediate attention is required.

    Controlling high BP is of the utmost importance

    Enumerate the major health risks that can get triggered due to high blood pressure?

    High blood pressure can lead to a heart attack, causing substantial damage to the arteries and impeding blood flow to the heart muscle. Additionally, hypertension can increase the likelihood of stroke by causing blood vessels in the brain to clog or burst more easily.

    What should be the normal range of blood pressure that needs to be maintained in elderly patients?

    For senior citizens and individuals of all ages, maintaining a blood pressure of less than 120/80 is considered normal. Blood pressure is generally considered too low if it falls below 90/60. Regular monitoring of blood pressure is essential.

    What are the major reasons that cause high blood pressure in elderly people?

    Common causes of high blood pressure in the elderly include physical inactivity, age, family history, excessive sodium intake, tobacco use, and being overweight. It is important to note that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial in managing high blood pressure.

    Also, read: Your weight can give you high blood pressure. Here’s what you need to know

    What are the reasons for low blood pressure in old people?

    Low blood pressure in the elderly can occur due to dehydration, medication side effects, and the natural aging process. It is advisable to seek medical assistance to bring low blood pressure back to a normal range. Ignoring health problems should be avoided.

    Don’t let blood pressure issues affect your life

    Suggest important tips to keep blood pressure under control at home.

    To manage blood pressure at home, it is advisable to maintain a healthy weight by shedding excess kilos through regular exercise. Follow a diet rich in potassium while limiting sodium intake. Eliminate junk and processed foods, quit smoking and alcohol, reduce stress through activities like yoga and meditation, and minimize sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption.

    Also, read: How to manage high blood pressure without any medication, according to a top cardiologist

    What foods should be strictly avoided if the patient is suffering from high blood pressure?

    When dealing with high blood pressure, it is important to avoid foods such as salt, packaged items, pizza, pasta, bakery products, canned goods, pickles, tomato-based products, alcohol, refined flour, noodles, burgers, chocolate, papad, chana dal, chips, and cheese.

    How can elderly people tackle low blood pressure at home?

    Monitoring blood pressure at home with the guidance of a healthcare professional is important. It is crucial to avoid skipping medication, drink an adequate amount of water, and adhere to the prescribed salt intake. Eating small, frequent meals and engaging in daily exercise can also help manage low blood pressure.

    You can reduce your blood pressure in simple ways

    How can blood pressure affect the kidneys and the need for proper medication?

    High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can potentially lead to kidney disease. It is often necessary for individuals with high blood pressure to take medication in order to regulate their numbers and slow down the progression of kidney disease.

    When should patients consult a doctor, and what is the approximate prevalence of high blood pressure in elderly people?

    It is important not to delay seeking medical attention if blood pressure is significantly higher than normal, such as 180/120 or higher. Patients should also consult a doctor if they experience severe headaches, blurry vision, or other concerning symptoms.

    Takeaway

    High blood pressure is a prevalent issue among the elderly population. It can increase the morbidity and mortality rates in affected individuals. Monitoring blood pressure regularly and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are essential for maintaining overall well-being throughout life.

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