It is critically important to maintain a healthy blood pressure during all phases of life, but especially as people age. Blood pressure levels are a key indication of overall circulatory system health, as the blood is responsible for carrying oxygen and other important nutrients throughout the body.
According to the American Heart Association, between 70-80% of older people in the United States have high blood pressure (hypertension). Loved ones play an important role in helping seniors maintain the best blood pressure levels possible.
Let’s take a look at what is considered a good blood pressure range for older adults and what steps you can take to help your loved one’s numbers improve.
Normal Blood Pressure Ranges for Older People
While it’s true that blood pressure tends to rise as people age, there is no doubt that maintaining lower values is very beneficial. There are two numbers that measure blood pressure; systolic and diastolic.
Measures how much pressure the heart is producing when contracting and pushing out blood.
Represents the amount of pressure present when the heart is filling with blood in a relaxed state.
Elderly Blood Pressure Ranges
Recently, the American Heart Association (AHA) updated their guidance to indicate that people age 65 and older should ideally have a blood pressure reading lower than 130/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). The first number (systolic) measures artery pressure when the heart is pumping. The secondary number is diastolic, which measures the arterial pressure when the heart is resting. Lifestyle changes are suggested for seniors who have higher blood pressure levels, but are still lower than 130/80 mm Hg. However, medication is usually needed for readings higher than this range.
How to Improve or Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure for Seniors
While medication is sometimes needed in order to help an older adult lower their blood pressure, here are some lifestyle changes that can be a great help toward living more healthfully.
Shed Unneeded Pounds
Carrying around excess weight is very hard on the heart and this is especially true for older adults. Losing weight is one of the best ways to lower blood pressure. For every two pounds lost, it has been shown that blood pressure can be reduced by 1mm Hg.
Participating in regular exercise is great for improving both physical and mental health. It has also been shown to reduce blood pressure levels. Before a senior starts an exercise program, it is best to consult with their doctor to develop a plan that will work best for their individual circumstances.
A Heart Healthy Diet
Generally speaking, most Americans consume too much salt and saturated fat in their daily diets. Adopting a heart-healthy food plan that is lower in both sodium and fat and includes fruits, whole grains, vegetables and lean meat will have a positive effect on blood pressure levels.
Moderation with Alcohol
It has been known for decades that consuming alcohol can raise blood pressure. Older adults should drink alcoholic beverages in moderation. Help your senior limit their alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and no more than two for men.
Smoking has detrimental effects on nearly every part of the body, especially the heart. Smoke can damage the walls of the arteries and cause significant increases in blood pressure. If your loved one is suffering from hypertension, quitting smoking will make a world of difference.
Finding the Right Blood Pressure Range for Seniors
Maintaining good blood pressure is vital to helping the older adults in your life stay vibrant and healthy. Sometimes it can be confusing as to how to assist a loved one reduce their hypertension.
At Frontier, our highly knowledgeable and compassionate team is here to help you become more familiar with the importance of maintaining a healthy blood pressure for your older loved ones. If you would like to learn more about our wonderful communities, we invite you to visit one of our properties, take a tour and speak with our friendly staff.