Seniors, High Blood Pressure, and Changing Daily Habits

Feb 25th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Okay, I confess my Primary Care Physician has made headway in getting through to me.  After the third prescription for high blood pressure, we hope she has come upon one that won’t have the side effect of coughing after taking it.  My pressure is up, higher than it has ever been in my 71 years.  And, it doesn’t seem to want to go down no matter what coaxing we attempt.  So meds.  More exercise. Watch the diet.   I get it.  My weight is only 184, at almost 6 ft tall.  I confess I don’t get enough exercise, never have, but the dogs like to walk so I am assuming their need to address mine.  Diet is a given in our house.  My spouse has kept me on the straight and narrow for years. 

So what do you and I need to surrender in order to control the dreaded presence of high blood  pressure?  One thing is to pick up one of those cuff machines at your local pharmacy and check your blood  pressure  daily.  This will serve as a primary reminder to do only those things that help you to reduce your blood pressure.

Other habits to discontinue is the temptation to eat or drink things that contribute to high blood pressure.  It isn’t going to go away all by itself.  It took over 70 years for me to develop this malady. I need now to do some things to help reduce and eliminate it.

Discontinue the habit of being a couch potato.  Just as giving up potatoes is a good idea, so is the habit of slouching on a LaZBoy or sofa.  Calculate the number of hours that you occupy an easy chair.  Exchange half of those hours by exercising, walking, jogging, running, biking, etc.  Your world will suddenly become larger than even your 52″ big screen TV can show. 

Discontinue having the idea that there really isn’t much to do around the house.  Ask, look, inquire, volunteer to do things that will keep you up and moving.  If it is easier to identify a complaint, like a bad back or a sore knee, give it up and get to working on exercise that will improve their condition and yours.

Avoid the temptation to eat between meals.  This is a daily habit that is particularly tough for those of us who enjoy certain tempting items such as chocolate, ice cream, chips, a beer and so on.  If you must give in, find some way to alert yourself what you are doing to yourself.  A bell on the freezer door, chocolate locked away, keep beer in the hottest part of the house, absolutely refuse to stock the pantry with crunchy foods. 

Make a list of things to stay away from.  After all, this is lent, what better time to give up something.  Check yourself and your list for signs of discipline and sacrifice.  You may not lose any weight, your blood pressure may not even go down, but just think how self righteous you will feel!



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