Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is an extremely common condition that occurs when blood places too much pressure against the walls of the arteries over an extended period of time. High blood pressure is a risk factor for many serious health conditions, including heart attack and stroke. Having a better understanding of what causes heart attack may help your aging relative to avoid developing the condition.
Causes of Hypertension
Hypertension is a condition that typically develops slowly. An older adult can have it for years without knowing because it doesn’t usually cause any symptoms. The only way to know your older family member has high blood pressure is for them to have it checked.
There are two kinds of blood pressure. One of them is primary hypertension, which is the most common kind. It’s blood pressure for which there isn’t an identifiable cause. It’s the kind that develops over time. The other kind is secondary hypertension, which is caused by another medical condition. It usually happens suddenly. People with secondary hypertension usually have a higher blood pressure than those with primary hypertension.
Some of the conditions that can cause secondary hypertension are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea.
- Adrenal gland tumors.
- Kidney problems.
- Thyroid problems.
- Congenital defects in the blood vessels.
- Some medications, such as decongestants and nonprescription painkillers.
Risk Factors for Hypertension
Even though the cause of high blood pressure isn’t always identifiable, doctors do know that there are several risk factors that make it more likely for an older adult to have high blood pressure. Some of those risk factors are:
Age: Just getting older increases the chances of developing high blood pressure.
Family History: Having a close relative with high blood pressure puts your aging relative at higher risk.
Excess weight: Being overweight or obese is a risk factor because the more a person weighs, the more blood their body requires to support tissues. The greater amount of blood flowing through blood vessels puts more pressure on their walls.
Inactivity: A lack of physical activity usually causes a rise in heart rate, which makes the heart work harder and puts more pressure on blood vessels.
Excess Sodium: Eating too much sodium, or salt, makes the body retain fluid. Excess fluid in tissues increases blood pressure.
Elderly care can help seniors to manage or prevent high blood pressure by assisting them with the risk factors that can be changed. For example, if your older family member is currently eating a lot of processed food or fast food, they are probably eating more salt than is considered healthy. An elderly care provider can cook healthy meals that are low in salt. Another way that elderly care providers can help is by encouraging more physical activity. The elderly care provider can invite your aging relative to go for a walk or help them with an activity in the home that requires them to get up and move.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Surprise, AZ, please contact the caring staff at Home Care Resources at (602) 443-4700