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Keeping a Healthy Blood Pressure: Facts, Tips, & More!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documents an average of 70 million adults as having high blood pressure (BP). This value accounts for 1 in every 3 adult with BP readings higher than normal. The CDC also shares the dangers of high blood pressure stating, “More than 360,000 American deaths in 2013 included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. That is almost 1,000 deaths each day.
Blood pressure readings may vary depending on age, health status, exercise, sleep, stress, and others. The American Heart Association notes 120/80 mm Hg as a normal BP reading. Readings can be slightly higher or lower than 120/80 mm Hg without presenting any health concerns. On the other hand, a reading of 120/80 mm Hg may not be “ideal” for some clients. For instance, if your BP reading is normally on the lower spectrum averaging 90/50 mm Hg, then an increase in blood pressure to 125/90 mmHg may signal a health concern. An increase or decrease in BP may or may not be related to an underlying cause, but it’s best to contact your doctor for guidance if you experience a change from normal blood pressure readings.
Clients should adhere to scheduled physical examinations and ask their practitioner about his/her baseline vitals – theses are “norm” vital sign values for the client (heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature). In general consistent blood pressure readings of 160/100 mm Hg or higher are considered hypertension (high BP), and readings less than 120/80 mm Hg hypotension (low BP).
Tips for Keeping a Healthy Blood Pressure:
1. Take (BP) readings as advised by your physician, and prior to taking any blood pressure medications.
2. Limit the amount of sodium in your diet. The Mayo Clinic advises to decrease daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams (mg) or less. As noted in the Mayo Clinic, “Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.”
3. Read food labels paying notice to sodium content per serving. Keep in mind the serving amount may differ from the sodium content in the entire container. For instance, the package can read, “500 mg of sodium per serving”, while the serving size accounts for ½ of the container. If you plan to consume the entire package portion, then sodium intake would be 500mg X 2 (serving per entire container) = 1,000 mg of sodium. Clients can consult with dietitians and nutritionist for tips and assistance in calculating sodium intake.
4. Keep a diary of sodium intake per meal to ensure adherence to daily recommendations.
5. Maintain BP medication regimen for optimal results.
6. Develop an exercise routine as advised by your doctor. As noted in the Mayo Clinic, “Regular physical activity — at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
7. If applicable, lose the extra weight. The Mayo Clinic documents that losing 10 pounds can reduce BP, and also increase the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.
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