Abnormal Blood Pressure Linked to Increased Fall Risks

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While low blood pressure may be expected to cause falling among seniors, new research indicates that any abnormal blood pressure increases the risk of falling.

Seniors know that their primary care physicians closely monitor blood pressure as they age. Paying attention to blood pressure makes sense as irregularities can affect anyone’s health and wellbeing. High blood pressure or hypertension has even motivated some to explore medical alert systems.

Friends and family of seniors might feel concerned by low blood pressure. However, hypertension is trending upward among the senior population. New research draws a strong connection between high blood pressure, frailty, and falls in both frequency and outcome. For the increasing number of older adults with hypertension, this finding may feel troubling.

The new research reveals that any abnormal blood pressure can threaten physical stability in older adults. Blood pressure irregularities are representative of a person’s biological age, which indicates a person’s general health. Further, hypertension can significantly influence the likelihood and outcome of a fall. Moreover, only about 24% of adults who are living with hypertension have their condition fully under control.

A medical alert system is an ideal, complementary healthcare tool for anyone taking blood pressure medication. Although medication can help control the condition, fluctuating blood pressure and hypertension can still result in falling and worse-- fall-related injuries. Our medical alert devices can help you or your loved ones receive essential care at a moment’s notice.

The Connection Between Hypertension and Falling

Blood pressure commonly rises and falls throughout the day. However, long-lasting high blood pressure can lead to heart damage and additional health concerns. The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association set the classification for high hypertension in 2017. High hypertension is a blood pressure at or above 130/80 mm Hg. The associations set Stage 2 hypertension as a blood pressure at or above 140/90 mm Hg.

About 116 million people (nearly 1 out of 2 adults) in the United States have hypertension. Doctors will prescribe high blood pressure medication to many of these adults. Many doctors will further recommend lifestyle changes to supplement any medication. Along with high blood pressure, researchers have found that these medications frequently lead to increased fall risk.

When taking these medications to lower blood pressure, some patients may experience dizziness when they stand. Our In-the-Home Medical Alert system is a great option to use under these circumstances. Alert1 members can select either a necklace or a wristband, both of which are fully waterproof. Members may also want to invest in the system if they have a shower seat and often feel dizzy after showering.

Doctors or nurse practitioners take patient blood pressure at yearly physicals or wellness visits. If you do not have a history of high blood pressure, these visits are often when doctors diagnose patients with hypertension. Patients with normal blood pressure (120/80 mm Hg) can rely on these yearly check-ups. However, doctors may recommend that patients with irregular pressure monitor their numbers at home.

There are some other ways to track your blood pressure. In certain cases, older adults with high blood pressure may experience nosebleeds, shortness of breath, or headache. However, the symptoms often appear once your blood pressure has spiked over a period of time. Instead, you should focus on what can cause hypertension:

  • Diet: If your diet is high in salt or fat, it can put you at risk for developing hypertension. High cholesterol diets can also lead to developing chronic high blood pressure.
  • Chronic Conditions: Kidney and hormone problems may lead to hypertension. Diabetes can also lead to hypertension.
  • Family History and Age: Seniors often develop high blood pressure as they age. Those with a family history of hypertension can also develop it at different ages.
  • Lack of Physical Activity: People who are overweight or not active have a heightened risk of developing hypertension.
Older adults living with high blood pressure may feel inclined to get active but nervous about experiencing an emergency. In these cases, know that you can take a medical alert system with you wherever you go. The On-the-Go Medical Alert System with GPS and Fall Detection provides security in and out of doors, coast to coast. When an alert is sent, our emergency response team stays on the line until help arrives. 

Hypertension is on the Rise

The rate of hypertension in older adults has trended upward in the last few decades. Between 2007 and 2017, hypertension-related deaths rose by 72% in rural parts of the United States. The number of deaths increased by 20% in urban areas of the United States.

Adults can take multiple kinds of blood pressure medication to treat hypertension. These include:

  • Diuretics: The medication assists the body in removing excess salt and water.
  • Beta-blockers: These reduce an individual’s heart rate. Beta-blockers also reduce the heart’s output of blood, which will lower your blood pressure.
  • Blood Vessel Dilators: Vasodilators relax the muscles in the walls of blood vessels. By helping widen the vessels, blood can flow through better.
  • ACE Inhibitors: An ACE inhibitor helps relax and open up blood vessels.
  • Calcium Channel Blockers: The medication decreases calcium, which in turn makes the heart’s contraction less forceful and strenuous.

Researchers are now finding more links between hypertension and fall risk. But hypertension is also connected to other blood pressure abnormalities that lead to possible falls. The likelihood of seniors developing orthostatic hypotension - low blood pressure when standing - is greater in older adults who have uncontrolled hypertension.

Seniors with orthostatic hypotension and uncontrolled hypertension risk recurrent falls 2.5 times more after 1 minute of standing than those who have uncontrolled hypertension and no orthostatic hypotension. Seniors are encouraged to monitor hypertension. By doing so, they can possibly prevent overlooking the presence of orthostatic hypotension and subsequent fall risks.

Hypertension not only increases fall risk but also worsens fall-related outcomes. These falls may lead to broken bones and emergency room visits or hospitalizations. Seniors with osteoporosis or bone density issues may find these fall-related outcomes especially troubling. Therefore, seniors with hypertension should in strongly consider investing in a medical alert system with fall detection. Alert1 offers our members three different options that include fall detection. These are: At Home + Fall Detection, On the Go + Fall Detection, and At Home + On the Go + Fall Detection.

Alert1 staffs our emergency Command Centers with trained agents. We know that emergencies can happen when you least expect them. We also know how any fall can feel frightening and disorienting. Our responders are certified and can help to keep you or a loved one calm as they await medical assistance. While you may not know when you will need assistance, we can ensure that you get help when you need it most—and you will never have to face an emergency alone.

Blood Pressure Signifies Overall Health

Abnormal blood pressure can create additional stress, both physical and emotional. However, it can also be a good metric for someone’s overall health. Blood pressure helps doctors understand a patient’s biological age. Researchers find that knowing biological age is more useful than basing treatment on chronological age.

Falling can quickly become a major concern for people who are living with hypertension or a biological age that is older than their chronological age. Our fall detection technology at Alert1 helps to ease these concerns. Our medical alert systems are user friendly and long lasting.

Alert1 members do not need to worry about any accidental button pushing charges, either. We do not charge our members for any “false alarms.” Unlike other companies, we also do not charge for multiple button pushes.

Older adults do what they can to prevent falls. But for people living with hypertension, these accidents may be unavoidable. A medical alert system can assist you in getting help quickly in the event of an emergency. At Alert1, we offer our members month-to-month plans   as well as pre-paid, discounted plans. These flexible plan options differ from other medical alert companies that might normally require users to sign a long-term contract. Some companies lock their members into contracts for at least 36 months. We offer our members plans that can last anywhere from one month to 10 months. It all depends on what works best for you.

Our devices are made with seniors in mind. After a button is pressed or a fall is detected, an operator will come on the line. These operators often respond within seconds. Operators are also trained to respond and send assistance to non-verbal members. Our technology is also 100% showerproof, which means we can offer seniors assistance at any time and in any place. 

Alternative Methods to Regulate Blood Pressure

Medical alert systems and medication can help seniors live long and full lives. However, many doctors also recommend holistic methods to combat hypertension. Ultimately, the approaches may include lifestyle adjustments. A doctor may make any of the following recommendations:

  • Lose Weight: Blood pressure can increase as your weight increases. Weight gain can also result in difficulty breathing while asleep, or sleep apnea. Sleep apnea also causes raised blood pressure. You should also consider monitoring your waistline. A man with a measurement greater than 40 inches is at risk of developing hypertension. Women are at risk if their waistline exceeds 35 inches.
  • Regular Exercise: Consistently exercising helps lower blood pressure. A doctor may suggest low-impact regimens such as walking, swimming, or perhaps dancing. Exercising most days of the week will yield the best and most consistent results.
  • Dietary Changes: Seniors should keep a food diary. Monitoring how much food you eat, when you eat, and why you eat it can reveal surprising habits. Fruits and vegetables, as well as foods full of whole grains and potassium, lower high blood pressure.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption: Consuming moderate amounts of alcohol is potentially reasonable. But large amounts of alcohol can raise your blood pressure by several points. Alcohol also reduces the efficacy of hypertension medication. Limiting your alcohol consumption may also reduce your fall risk.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking increases your blood pressure. Your blood pressure remains elevated even after you finish smoking. Quitting smoking will also improve your overall health and life expectancy.
  • Reduce Caffeine: Researchers are still exploring the link between caffeine and high blood pressure. There is a way to see if it influences your blood pressure. Seniors should check their pressure within 30 minutes of drinking anything caffeinated. You should also speak with your doctor about any of your concerns.
  • Seek Support: Even if you live alone, you should not have to navigate hypertension alone. Friends and family can encourage you to monitor your health. They can also assist in bringing you to wellness appointments. Otherwise, seniors should consider joining support groups and/or utilizing a medical alert service.

Medical Alert Systems are Ideal for Seniors with Irregular Blood Pressure

Seniors with hypertension have a greater fall risk and chance of fall-related outcomes. However, seniors living with hypertension can still age in place and maintain full lives. If you or any family members have a history with hypertension, you should consider the protection and peace of mind offered by Alert1 medical alert technology.

Our trained staff value your independence. We strive to ensure that you can age in place with guaranteed protection during any vulnerable moments. Seniors can decide whom our alert systems contact in the event of an emergency. Whether we alert a family member, close friend, or neighbor, we design our systems to provide immediate comfort for all involved.

As the senior population continues to live longer across the United States, and hypertension incidence rises, it is more important than ever for seniors to explore medical alert technology. Our personal medical alarms can help prevent seniors who have hypertension from suffering without assistance after an unexpected fall.