For those who need to lower their blood pressure, but would rather not depend solely on medication, other techniques exist as complementary or alternative therapy. After all, reducing blood pressure can help seniors and other high-risk groups avoid heart attacks, stroke, and decreased vision or kidney function – just a few consequences of uncontrolled high blood pressure.
As a leading provider of senior home care in Caledon, we wanted to share three simple ways that seniors can combat blood pressure issues without a prescription:
- Make small changes in eating habits. While losing excess weight is easier said than done, making changes in eating habits can reduce blood pressure quite a bit. As an alternative strategy for those who have trouble shedding pounds, consider eating a healthier diet with the goal of controlling blood pressure, not reducing weight. Instead of focusing on counting calories, concentrate on lowering sodium. Look into foods that can be added to a diet to lower blood pressure naturally, such as baked potatoes, spinach, low-fat milk, beans, and bananas. Small amounts of dark chocolate can help, too!
- Make small changes in drinking habits. Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption can have a negative effect on blood pressure, although drinking lightly (about one drink per day) can protect the heart, according to recent studies. Drinking alcohol in excess can also reduce the effectiveness of some medications, including those that regulate blood pressure. Caffeine can also temporarily increase blood pressure, so cutting out coffee or caffeinated soft drinks can provide a benefit to seniors as well.
- Try meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises. Because stress can cause elevated blood pressure, including sharp spikes that may precipitate heart attacks, finding meaningful ways to reduce or manage stress can be lifesaving. For the spiritually minded, meditation is one option and can be practiced alone very easily. While yoga can be done as a solitary practitioner, joining a class offers a social aspect with benefits of its own. For seniors who aren’t interested in the first two options, simply practicing deep-breathing exercises can be well worth the effort.
No one should stop taking blood pressure medication without consulting his/her physician, but these methods can provide additional means to lower levels without adding more medication. They can also help manage other conditions related to high blood pressure such as stroke; in fact, these tips are often found in Caledon post-stroke care plans, helping guide seniors who need help managing their blood pressure to prevent stroke recurrence.
If you or an aging parent or loved one struggle with high blood pressure and could use help implementing the above tips, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Caledon today. We have a team of professional and highly trained hourly and live-in Caledon caregivers who can assist with a wide range of daily activities from nutritious meal preparation to exercise and physical fitness. To learn more about in-home care services, call 905-951-8885 and speak with a friendly and knowledgeable Care Manager and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.