WebMD defines blood pressure as “the measure of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls.” Although a person’s blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day, when a person’s blood pressure is higher than normal over an extended period of time, they have high blood pressure. High blood pressure may also be referred to as hypertension. If high blood pressure goes unchecked, it can lead to serious health problems like stroke, heart disease, or kidney disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three American adults has high blood pressure. Since high blood pressure often has no symptoms, it is sometimes called “the silent killer” because people don’t know about it until it’s too late. Knowing what causes high blood pressure could help you and your parent’s senior care providers prevent your parent from new or worsening high blood pressure.
Primary and Secondary Hypertension
There are two kinds of hypertension: Primary or essential hypertension and secondary hypertension. Primary hypertension is the most common kind of high blood pressure. A person has primary hypertension if there is no known cause for the high blood pressure. Primary hypertension tends to develop over time.
Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure that develops quickly and is caused by the presence of another underlying condition. Some conditions that can cause secondary hypertension are:
- Thyroid conditions.
- Obstructive sleep apnea.
- Tumors on the adrenal glands.
- Problems with the kidneys.
- Drug or alcohol abuse.
- Congenital blood vessel defects.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
Doctors do not know exactly what causes high blood pressure, but there are several risk factors that are associated with a greater chance of developing high blood pressure. Some of those risk factors are:
- Consuming too much salt.
- Age – risks for high blood pressure increase with age.
- Gender – men are more likely to be diagnosed during middle age while women are more likely to be diagnosed after age 65.
- Drinking alcohol in excess.
- A family history of high blood pressure.
- Sleep apnea.
- Being physically inactive.
- Kidney disease.
- Thyroid and adrenal gland disorders.
- Race – African Americans are more likely to have high blood pressure.
- Consuming too little potassium.
- Consuming too little vitamin D.
How a Senior Care Provider Can Help
A senior care provider can help manage existing high blood pressure or prevent the onset of high blood pressure by assisting your parent with planning and cooking healthy meals. They can also remind your parent to take medications for existing high blood pressure or other conditions that could lead to high blood pressure. A senior care provider can also encourage your parent to remain physically active by participating in physical activities with them, like walks, or by driving them to exercise classes.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Gretna, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.