3 Things To Know About High Blood Pressure

One minute you’re young, and the next, you’re worrying about high blood pressure. While high blood pressure, or hypertension, affects people of all ages, older adults have an increased chance of having it; arteries stiffen as you age, causing blood pressure to go up. Whether you are already battling high blood pressure or you want to take measures to reduce your risk, here are five things to know about hypertension.


What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries as the heart pumps blood. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 or below (unless you get below 90/60—then that’s low blood pressure.) A high blood pressure reading is 130/80 or higher. Older adults often have a high first number but low second number, a problem called isolated systolic hypertension that’s associated with old age and can lead to serious health problems.


What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

The tricky thing about hypertension is that most people who have it don’t have symptoms. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to check for—if your blood pressure reading is high at two or more check-ups, your doctor may even ask you to measure your blood pressure at home.


How can I reduce my risk of high blood pressure?

While hypertension is sometimes unavoidable—it can be genetic, and oftentimes its related to aging—there are lifestyle changes you can make to mitigate the risk that you’ll develop it, or to help control your blood pressure if it’s already high. These include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a heart-healthy diet, cutting down on salt intake, drinking less alcohol, getting a good night’s sleep, and managing stress. Such lifestyle changes can go a long way, but there are also medications that can lower your blood pressure. Unfortunately, there’s no cure, so you may need to take medication long term.

Kingsway Residents can get their blood pressure checked at one of our regular Stroke Prevention & Blood Pressure Clinics. Ask a staff member for more information!

Senior Health & Wellbeing