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May is National High Blood Pressure Education month.

Known as the silent killer, high blood pressure often has no symptoms. Most who have it don’t experience anything out of the ordinary like headaches or exhaustion. Because you feel fine, you don’t get it checked. The fact is, though, uncontrolled high blood pressure raises your risk for stroke and heart disease.

5 Facts About High Blood Pressure

Whether at home or in an assisted living facility, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure regularly. Don’t let it sneak up on you. Adopt a healthy lifestyle now and learn what you can about blood pressure and healthy living. Get started with the following 5 alarming facts.

1) Insufficient Salt Intake is Problematic

While it’s certainly true too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure, the opposite is also true. This is especially the case for heart failure patients. Try to keep your salt consumption between 1,800mg and 2,300mg a day.

If you have diabetes, hypertension, or pre-hypertension, limit your sodium intake to 1,500mg daily. Be careful about foods with hidden salt such as processed foods, pickles, canned soup, and salted nuts.

2) Potassium is Key

Potassium helps keep blood pressure within the healthy range. It relaxes the arterial walls. Many seniors don’t get enough potassium. The daily recommendation for seniors is 4,700mg of potassium each day. Foods high in potassium include bananas, squash, eggplant, yogurt, baked potatoes, and dark leafy greens.  

3) Your Positioning is Important for an Accurate Reading

A common position while taking blood pressure is sitting on the edge of an exam table with your feet dangling. It’s important to give your back support and to let your arm rest while taking a reading. Your feet should also rest on the floor.

The stethoscope sensor should be placed across the brachial artery at the inside bend of your elbow. Relax and don’t talk. You can get a blood pressure monitor to use at home for more frequent readings.

4) Your Blood Pressure Can Vary

Your blood pressure may vary from arm to arm. For some individuals, this is normal. In this case, your blood pressure should be tracked on both sides. Your doctor will note it in your chart and may take an average of both readings. It can also vary throughout the day. For accurate tracking, it’s important to take it exactly the same way each time.

5) Low Blood Pressure May Not be a Problem

A low blood pressure reading by itself isn’t cause for alarm for most people. However, if it’s accompanied by certain symptoms, you need to see a doctor. These symptoms include lightheadedness, fatigue, and dizziness. They are generally a side effect of medicines intended to lower your blood pressure. Rarely does blood pressure in and of itself cause side effects.

Stay Active and Healthy

The best defense against high blood pressure is a healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke, control your weight, eat a healthy diet, and stay active. Make sure you have your blood pressure checked often, even if you feel fine. Become familiar with the facts about high blood pressure, so you don’t get caught off guard.

For more information on healthy senior living or for a tour of one of our assisted living cottages, Contact Us.