DRINKING LESS ALCOHOL
A glass of red wine may be good for you, but too much can be a problem.
Women should limit their drinking to no more than one drink per day and men should drink no more than two per day. Your doctor may recommend that you limit your drinking further depending on the medications you take.
As we age, our sleep patterns often change. Elderly people still need about seven to nine hours of sleep each night, just like other adults. Do your best to keep a regular sleep schedule, rising and going to bed at about the same time each day. Avoid napping in the late afternoon or evening. Do not eat a big meal or have caffeine or alcohol too close to bedtime. Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
MEDICATION TO LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
If you change your lifestyle and your blood pressure is still high, consult your regular physician. They may prescribe medication. Make sure your doctor knows what other medications you are taking. This will ensure there are no harmful interactions. Check your blood pressure regularly to make sure it stays at a healthy level.
There are a number of different kinds of blood pressure medications. The most common types of medications include:
Diuretics: They will cause you to urinate more frequently, flushing sodium from your system.
Beta Blockers: These slow your heartbeat. Your heart pumps less blood through your body’s blood vessels which lowers your blood pressure.
ACE Inhibitors: ACE stands for Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme. These block the hormone that narrows your blood vessels. When your blood vessels are wider, your blood pressure will be lower.
Vasodilators: These relax blood vessel wall muscles to reduce blood pressure.
Your doctor may prescribe one or more of these medications. (S)he will monitor your blood pressure to make sure it stays within healthy parameters. Many medications have side effects so tell your doctor about any changes since you started the medication.
KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
You can easily track your own blood pressure at home with a personal blood pressure monitor. Most monitors have an adjustable cuff that fits around your upper arm. It attaches to a machine that inflates and deflates it. This captures the data that measures your blood pressure.
Taking your blood pressure at home is not a substitute for seeing your doctor regularly. Your doctor may want to see you more often than usual as you are trying to get your blood pressure under control. Be sure to follow their recommendations for visits. Your doctor may recommend blood work or other tests. Be sure to follow fasting instructions or other restrictions prior to having your blood work done.
High blood pressure can cause serious complications and diseases, particularly in older people. However, there are treatments and medications that should lower it to a healthy level. Maintaining your blood pressure at a healthy level improves your overall health. This will ultimately improve your quality of life.