Hypertension is a common ailment among seniors, and there are special considerations that should be taken into account when treating hypertension in this demographic. According to American Family Physician, blood pressure measurement should be based on at least two readings. Measuring blood pressure in seniors can be difficult because of the changes in the cardiovascular system occur naturally with aging.
There is also “pseudohypertension” in which the blood pressure reading is skewed by the blood pressure cuff. Patients with “resistant hypertension” are more prone to this in which case ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (a relatively new technique for measuring hypertension) is used.
Any medication that is given for hypertension should be in tandem with lifestyle changes. Weight, diet, physical activity and alcohol consumption should be strictly monitored.
Patients should strive to maintain a normal weight in accordance with their body-mass index.
Diet should be mainly fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Sodium intake should be no more than 100 mmol per day. Exercise is highly recommended such as brisk walking (less than 30 minutes per day). Alcohol intake should be limited to no more than two drinks per day.
When using various antihypertensive treatments (thiazide diuretics, beta blockers, ace inhibitors and arbs, calcium channel blockers and other agents) you should be aware of the side effects.
Thiazide can cause dehydration and changes in posture. This drug should also be used with caution in patients who have gout, and if you’re currently taking other medications, your doctor should consult with your doctor to decide whether or not they’re safe to mix.
Beta blockers can cause sedation, sexual dysfunction and depression in older patients. There is also the possibility of heart failure. When combined with other drugs, beta blockers should be used with caution.
Calcium channel blockers are particularly effective on patients prone to coronary disease and it also suitable for patients who are sensitive to salt.
Cost in another factor that should be considered when providing treatment. The cost of certain drugs may be a prohibitive factor when accessing adequate care. Even if the patient can afford the medication, the stress of having to pay the medication can make hypertension difficult to control.
Caregivers should also be aware of any specific life circumstances that the patient is dealing with. These factors may also hinder the management of hypertension in elderly patients and perhaps counselling or talking about the circumstances may assist in controlling blood pressure. For more information, speak with our team today.
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