Blood pressure is the term used to denote the amount of force that is exerted by the circulating blood on the walls of arteries. Normally, blood pressure rise and fall throughout the day, but for people suffering from hypertension, blood pressure consistently remains high, which can accentuate the risks of serious medical conditions. Statistics show that many seniors in assisted living facilities across the country suffer from high blood pressure.
Blood pressure monitors two measurements, systolic pressure, and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and diastolic pressure is the one when the heart rests between beats. Typically, uncontrolled blood pressure is a medical emergency that can damage the heart, kidneys, brain, arteries and even the eyes. It can increase the risk of heart disease, dementia, stroke and other health issues.
If you caring for a senior loved one with hypertension, you need to limit this damage by promoting lifestyle changes like regular exercise and a healthy diet as well as providing medications to lower blood pressure. However, for people with high blood pressure that is not controlled, sudden spikes in blood pressure exceeding 180 over 120 can occur. This is called a hypertensive crisis and will require immediate medical attention. Nursing care experts in our assisted living facility share some points that can help you learn when hypertension becomes an emergency.
As said above, a hypertensive crisis is when blood pressure rapidly increases to levels above 180 over 120. When it is left untreated, it can lead to health complications like:
If you come across these readings while measuring the blood pressure of your senior loved one, you need to be prepared to take immediate action.
When some physical symptoms accompany increased blood pressure, it can be life-threatening. Some of the most common symptoms of a blood pressure emergency are:
It can be overwhelming to experience these symptoms and your loved one may not be able to communicate what is happening. Therefore, as a family caregiver, you need to be familiar with the warning signs of these conditions to understand when an emergency arises.