Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can raise an elderly man’s risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attack. It’s often asymptomatic, meaning it has no discernible symptoms, which is why it’s so important for your senior loved one to visit his physician on a regular basis for a blood pressure check. Here are four ways elderly men increase the risk for hypertension and what can be done about each risk.
1. High Cholesterol
While total cholesterol may be a risk factor for high blood pressure, blood lipids known as low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) may raise the risk even further. LDL cholesterol is sometimes referred to as “bad cholesterol” because in contrast to high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) they can raise the risk for cardiovascular disease. HDL cholesterol, or “good cholesterol,” is thought to lower the risk. Weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation, and eating foods low in saturated fat and sugar may promote healthy cholesterol, lowering an elderly man’s risk for hypertension.
Aging adults may not be able to adopt a healthier lifestyle without help. In Omaha, elder care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
2. Sedentary Lifestyle
Elderly men may not get enough exercise. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can raise the risk for hypertension because when the body becomes too inactive, the cardiovascular system may feel the negative effects. A sedentary lifestyle may also lead to obesity and poor circulation, each thought to be a risk factor for high blood pressure. Encourage your loved one to get regular exercise, and if he has limited mobility or is unable to walk, help him do passive exercises with his arms and legs. Even passive exercise can promote optimal circulation and blood flow to the internal organs.
3. Excess Abdominal Fat
While overall excess weight can raise an elderly man’s risk for hypertension, visceral fat may play an even stronger role. Visceral fat accumulates around the internal organs, as opposed to adipose fat. The latter is fat that accumulates under the surface of the skin layers. Visceral fat can cause kidney and cardiovascular issues, both of which can lead to high blood pressure. To lower hypertension risk related to visceral fat, elderly men should exercise more and lose weight. As overall body fat decreases, so will visceral fat.
Motivating an aging parent to maintain a healthy weight can be challenging. Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. When they need respite care, Omaha families can rely on professional caregivers to help their senior loved ones remain safe at home.
4. Increased Uric Acid Levels
Elderly men are at risk for developing gout, which is a form of arthritis. Symptoms of gout include painful and inflamed joints that are often reddened. While any joint can be affected, gout typically affects the big toe. Men with gout also have elevated uric acid levels, and this, along with pain in the big toe, inflammation, and redness, are the diagnostic hallmarks of gout. High levels of uric acid may raise blood pressure, so lowering uric acid levels may reduce this risk. To decrease the risk for gout and elevated uric acid levels, encourage your loved one to lose weight, avoid trigger foods such as cheese and wine, and report symptoms to the physician as soon as possible.
Helping an aging parent reduce the risk of hypertension can present a few significant challenges. Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Omaha, NE, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home. Call (402) 249-0204 today to find out how your loved one can benefit from our comprehensive in-home care packages.