High blood pressure is scary, of course, but a related condition might be sneaking up on your senior right now. Prehypertension is a stage of increased blood pressure that isn’t considered high, but it warrants making some changes.
Here’s what you need to know at the beginning.
Prehypertension May Mean High Blood Pressure Later
There are no guarantees, but prehypertension now might mean that your senior is at greater risk of developing hypertension later. Taking action now might prevent that future for her. What prehypertension indicates is that your senior’s blood pressure levels now are edging closer to those levels that indicate higher than normal blood pressure. Your senior’s doctor may diagnose prehypertension in cases where your senior has a family history of hypertension or if her blood pressure numbers are slowly starting to creep up.
Prehypertension Might Not Look How You Expect it to Look
Prehypertension isn’t always something that makes sense from a layman’s perspective. The blood pressure numbers you’re seeing might still be under the “limits” for high blood pressure, but for some reason her doctor is concerned. There are also other related conditions, like isolated systolic hypertension. This is a specific type of hypertension in which the upper, or systolic, digit is definitely high but the diastolic, or lower, digit is either normal or lower than usual. Talk to your senior’s doctor about what her particular readings mean.
She Doesn’t Need to Race into Big Changes
Your senior might get scared by hearing that her blood pressure needs monitoring and therefore run headlong into a series of big changes. But the good news about thinking about blood pressure before it’s consistently high is that there is no need for big, sweeping changes. Small changes now, like improving her diet a little, can make for big results.
This May Not Be Easy for Her
Even though these changes may be smaller, that doesn’t mean they’re easy. Your senior might find that she’s been relying on convenience foods a lot, which tend to be higher in sodium. That might mean that those dietary changes that seem small give her a more difficult time because cooking is difficult or she doesn’t want to do it. Bringing in senior care providers to do the cooking might be the right answer for her.
Paying attention to things like blood pressure levels now can really head off bigger problems later. Your senior may not like hearing that she has prehypertension, but this gives her an opportunity that eludes many other people.