The United States has a major problem with high blood pressure control.
According to the CDC (Center for disease control) 70% of US adults, ages 65 or older, have high blood pressure. Nearly half of adults ages 65 or older with high blood pressure don’t have it under control, and about 5 million adults, ages 65 or older, with Medicare Part D aren’t taking their blood pressure medicine as directed.
High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Especially in seniors, these side effects are incredibly damaging and can also lead to death. There are many ways to help make sure this problem ends.
This includes making healthy lifestyle choices:
- Eat a heart healthy diet, which may include reducing salt
- Enjoy regular physical activity
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage stress
- Avoid tobacco smoke
- Comply with medication prescriptions
- If you drink, limit alcohol
By adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can:
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Prevent or delay the development of HBP
- Enhance the effectiveness of blood pressure medications
- Lower your risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease
Just as important as lifestyle changes, it is also very important to take medication as prescribed.
We must remember that medicine does not work if it is not taken, and nearly 25% of new prescriptions for blood pressure medicine are never filled.
If you have high blood pressure, make sure to follow your healthcare team’s instructions on how much medicine to take, how often, and how long to take it.
What are some questions to ask your healthcare team?
1. Should your medication be taken with or without a meal?
2. Should your medication be taken first thing in the morning?
3. What is this specific medication doing to help control my blood pressure?
Use a blood pressure monitor at home to keep track of your blood pressure between medical appointments.
Use weekly pill boxes or a mobile app to keep track of when to take medicine.
Remember, even if you are not having issues with blood pressure you can still help with this epidemic by helping loved ones take their blood pressure medications as directed, and by being involved in the process.
Interactive High Blood Pressure Guide
Also available as a downloadable PDF.
Take a look at the CDC’s Blood Pressure control infographic here: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/pdf/2016-09-vitalsigns.pdf