Everything You Need to Know About Blood Pressure Readings

What do you really know about blood pressure readings? To many, it’s just a set of numbers. There’s a goal to get as close to 120/80 as possible but not less than 90/60. You’re offering some care for your mom or dad and want to know what to watch for. Here’s what you need to know about your parent’s blood pressure.

Systolic vs. Diastolic

A blood pressure reading is made up of two parts. Systolic is the first number. It’s the pressure of the flowing blood through arteries during a heartbeat. The second number is the diastolic number. It’s the pressure of the flowing blood through the arteries when the heart is between beats.

How You Get a Blood Pressure Reading

A blood pressure device uses air to expand a pillow-like cuff that prevents blood from flowing in the artery of the arm. As the air in the cuff is slowly released, the flow of the blood is restored. You get your systolic reading when you hear the beat of the heart through a stethoscope placed over the artery. When you no longer hear the heartbeat, that corresponding number is the diastolic reading.

The Dangers of High and Low Blood Pressure

When your blood pressure is higher than it should be, your risk for heart disease and stroke increases. Prehypertension occurs when your blood pressure is in the 121 to 139 to 81 to 89 range. You don’t need medications at this point, but you should alter your diet and exercise habits.

Hypertension sets in when you reach 140/90 higher. There are different stages. Your doctor may not take immediate action. If you’re worried about your mom or dad, many doctors do not feel it’s risky unless the blood pressure goes over 150/90 on a regular basis. Once blood pressure is over 160/100, a doctor is likely to prescribe medications to help lower blood pressure. Heart medications and diuretics are common options. Diet and exercise are also important.

Low blood pressure readings are also problematic. If blood is now flowing fast enough, oxygen supplies may not get to the organs fast enough. Low blood pressure can indicate malnutrition, heart issues, or dehydration. If your parent’s blood pressure regularly reads less than 90/60, you should contact a doctor.

When your parent is placed on a prescription medication, you need to make sure they take the medications regularly. You may need to hire a senior care aide to provide medication reminders. A caregiver can also help prepare healthy snacks and meals. To learn more about services that help your aging parent, call a senior care agency.

If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Papillion, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.

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