Understanding Hypertension in Elderly
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is particularly prevalent in older adults, and in the UK, hypertension is a major health concern.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is a chronic medical condition that is characterised by high blood pressure in the arteries. It is often referred to as the silent killer because it typically can have no symptoms. The condition is diagnosed when a person's blood pressure consistently measures at or above 140/90 mmHg.
Hypertension in Elderly
According to the British Heart Foundation, hypertension affects around 12.5 million people in the UK, which is around 1 in 4 adults. The prevalence of hypertension increases with age, and it is estimated that around 75% of people over the age of 75 have the condition.
What Causes High blood Pressure in Elderly?
It is still unclear as to what causes high blood pressure in elderly. But certain factors can increase a person's risk of developing the condition. These include a family history of hypertension, being overweight or obese, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, and having junk food and a diet high in sodium.
Risk factors for Older adults
Age-related risk factors
Poor functioning of vital organs such as lungs, kidneys and heart as people get older, can have hypertension as a consequence. As people get older, the blood vessels become less elastic, and the walls of our arteries may thicken, making it more difficult for blood to flow through them. This can result in higher blood pressure readings, and older adults are at a higher risk of developing hypertension compared to younger people.
Lifestyle-related risk factors
Lifestyle choices such as poor diet, excess alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity and smoking can greatly increase the risk of hypertension. A diet high in sodium and low in potassium can also increase the risk of hypertension in older adults.
Medical conditions that increase the risk of hypertension
Certain medical conditions that are more prevalent in older adults can increase the risk of developing hypertension. These include chronic kidney disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, and certain hormonal disorders. Certain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and some antidepressants can also increase the risk of hypertension.
It's important to note that while some risk factors for hypertension are outside of our control, others can be managed through lifestyle changes and medication. Regular monitoring of blood pressure levels can also help identify hypertension early and allow for timely intervention. If you are an older adult or have a loved one who is at risk of hypertension, it's essential to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action to manage the condition.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Hypertension in Elderly
Hypertension is often called the silent killer because it often has no symptoms. However, as people age, they may start experiencing symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, or nosebleeds. These symptoms are not specific to hypertension and can also be caused by other medical conditions, which is why it is important to get regular check-ups.
Diagnosis of Hypertension
Diagnosing hypertension in older adults is done by measuring blood pressure. A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers, systolic and diastolic. The systolic blood pressure measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats, while the diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats. A blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high and may indicate hypertension.
Importance of regular blood pressure monitoring in older adults:
Regular blood pressure monitoring is essential in older adults because hypertension is commonly associated with serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. It is recommended that older adults get their blood pressure checked at least once a year or more frequently if they have a history of hypertension or other medical conditions.
Blood pressure can be checked at home using a blood pressure monitor or at a healthcare provider's office. It is important to discuss any concerns or abnormal readings with a healthcare provider who can help manage and treat hypertension.
PCL Connect tablet combined with PCL Wellness watch can be great option to track and monitor key health vitals such as blood pressure and heart rate among others, which can help keep a check on your heart's health.
Complications Related to Hypertension in older adults
If left untreated, hypertension can lead to several health complications. In this article, we will explore the various health complications of hypertension in older adults
Risk of cardiovascular diseases
Hypertension is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart attack, and Heart Failure. In older adults, the risk of these conditions increases with age, and the risk is higher for those with high blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause damage to the walls of the arteries, making them narrow and less elastic. This can result in the formation of blood clots, which can block blood flow to the brain, heart, or other vital organs.
Furthermore, hypertension can cause the heart to work harder than it should, leading to thickening of the heart muscle and weakening of the heart. This can result in heart failure or an irregular heartbeat, which can increase the risk of stroke or heart attack.
Increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline
Research has shown that hypertension is associated with an increased risk of dementia and cognitive decline in older adults. High blood pressure can damage the small blood vessels in the brain, leading to reduced blood flow and oxygen supply. This can result in the death of brain cells and the development of brain lesions.
Moreover, hypertension can cause the accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the brain, which is associated with Alzheimer's disease. The accumulation of this protein can lead to the formation of plaques and tangles in the brain, impairing cognitive function.
Managing Hypertension in Elderly is crucial to prevent these health complications.
Hypertension is a serious health concern for older adults, and if left untreated, it can lead to several health complications, including an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular diseases, as well as the risk of dementia and cognitive decline.
PCL Connect can help in regular blood pressure monitoring and proper management of hypertension to help prevent these health complications and improve overall health outcomes for older adults. Learn more and buy PCL Connect to manage Hypertension in elderly effectively and easily.