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  • Writer's pictureRichy Gomez

What Leads to High Blood Pressure in Aging Adults?

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is common in seniors. It can be caused by lifestyle habits, preexisting medical conditions, certain medications, and genetics. Here are some of the top reasons seniors get high blood pressure.

Renal Disease

Renal disease isn’t uncommon in seniors. It can cause urinary retention, edema, weakness, muscle and bone pain, and extreme high blood pressure. If renal disease is mild, the physician may prescribe medications such as diuretics, which lower blood pressure. However, if your senior loved one has renal failure, kidney dialysis may be needed to filter toxins from the body, reduce blood pressure, and lower the risk for heart attack and stroke. Mild kidney disease can be reversed with proper treatment, but more advanced cases may be irreversible.

Medication Side Effects

If your loved one has depression, antidepressant medication may be prescribed. Antidepressants can cause high blood pressure and raise the risk for cardiac arrhythmia and chest pain. Other medications that may increase blood pressure include decongestants used to treat nasal congestion, oral corticosteroids, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Once the medications are discontinued, blood pressure usually returns to normal.

Sedentary Lifestyle

As people age, they sometimes become more sedentary, which can heighten the risk for high blood pressure. However, a sedentary lifestyle is usually a modifiable risk factor. Once your loved one implements regular exercise into his or her daily routine, blood pressure may go down. Exercising can also prevent obesity, which is another risk factor in the development of high blood pressure. Your loved one doesn’t need to engage in a vigorous regimen of strenuous activity to reap the blood pressure–lowering benefits of exercise. In fact, a short leisurely walk after lunch or dinner may lower blood pressure just as much as a strenuous exercise regimen. While exercise is important, always check with your loved one’s physician before promoting a new exercise program.

Smoking And Drinking

Aging adults may be unable to break unhealthy habits, continuing to smoke cigarettes and consume large amounts of alcohol. Both of these habits can cause high blood pressure and increase the risk for heart attack, stroke, liver disease, and kidney issues. Encourage your loved one to quit these habits or at least cut down. If he or she is unable to quit smoking and drinking, talk to the physician, who may recommend seeking treatment by an addiction specialist. Once your loved one has stopped smoking and consuming too much alcohol, his or her blood pressure may go down. Also, alcohol may interact with certain medications, causing dangerous spikes in blood pressure.

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