The current issue of the Center for Disease Control’s Vital Signs publication highlights a somewhat shocking statistic: 70 percent of older adults have high blood pressure—and 50 percent of them don’t have it under control.
This is important because high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and strokes, as well as kidney problems. The condition has been linked to a higher risk for dementia as well.
Why are 50 percent of seniors with hypertension walking around with uncontrolled high blood pressure? The CDC reports that it’s because they aren’t taking the medications that their doctors prescribe. This is due to various factors, according the CDC:
- Not filling the prescription – Nearly 25% of new prescriptions for blood pressure medicine are never filled.
- No symptoms – People with high blood pressure often don’t have symptoms so some may not treat a problem they don’t notice.
- Complexity – People don’t know when to take which pills when they have multiple medicines.
- Side effects – Medicines may have unwanted side effects.
- Forgetting – People forget to take their medicine or refill prescriptions on time.
- Cost – Medicine costs may be too high for some people.
QHS has developed an online program that helps people control their high blood pressure. If you qualify to complete the online program, you’ll find it on your homepage under “Managing Blood Pressure.”
The program offers many strategies for staying on track with blood pressure control. These include things like:
· Get educated: Learning how high blood pressure pills work—and what can happen when you’d don’t take them--can inspire you to follow your medication regimen.
· Look for the Pros: Make a list of the good things that can happen with your health when you take blood pressure medication as directed.
· Set reminders: You can use an alarm, a smartphone app, a special pill box, or even a Post-It note on your mirror.
· Get a support team: How can your loved ones support you? They can send email reminders, pick up prescriptions for you, and encourage you to live healthier. You can also look for online support groups or community groups to help you stay on track.
And don’t forget that lifestyle changes will also help you control blood pressure. Exercising 150 minutes per week, losing weight (as little as 5 percent of your body weight can help), eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and reducing the sodium in your diet can have a meaningful impact on your blood pressure.
So get in control and stay on the right side of the statistics!