Zinc May Reduce Fall Risk for Seniors with Abnormal Blood Pressure

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Personal health and the physical effects of aging are a natural concern for seniors. For many older adults, blood pressure regulation may be high on the list of worries. Abnormal blood pressure is extremely common among seniors, and it can lead to poor health outcomes over time. Importantly, this common condition can lead to an increased risk of falling — something that many seniors and their loved ones may not know.

If you have abnormal blood pressure, you are likely already on a treatment plan your doctor has prescribed. But a new study in Nature Communications has found that zinc may help to regulate blood pressure. It might be worthwhile for those with blood pressure issues to discuss this new finding with their doctors to see if a zinc supplement would be appropriate. This may be especially important for those aging in place. The more control one has over the effects of abnormal blood pressure, the easier it is to improve one’s quality of life and prevent harmful accidents. 

In general, seniors should always take preventative measures to avoid falls. If you have abnormal blood pressure, a medical alert system can be an essential safety tool. Don’t wait for an accident to happens before finding a device that works for you. Medical alert systems ensure you get fast help when you need it most. Whether or not you decide to try zinc for blood pressure regulation, a medical alert system is an important consideration for anybody with hypertension or hypotension.  

Why Is Irregular Blood Pressure Dangerous?

Many adults and elderly people have irregular blood pressure. In fact, nearly half of adults in America have hypertension (high blood pressure). Of those who have high blood pressure, only 1 in 4 people have the condition managed. While not as severe as hypertension, low blood pressure also afflicts many people, and it can pose significant health risks. 

Any form of irregular blood pressure can become dangerous if not properly treated. Unfortunately, abnormal blood pressure also poses a risk of falling for vulnerable groups, including senior citizens.

High blood pressure has demographic risk factors that predispose a person to the condition. Your risk for high blood pressure grows higher as you age. Men and women have a close to even risk of hypertension. Additionally, Black people tend to develop high blood pressure both earlier in life and at a higher rate compared to people of other races. 

Certain modifiable factors can cause hypertension as well. Obesity puts stress on your heart, causing blood pressure to rise as a result of the increased strain. Additional factors for hypertension include a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet. Both of these influences, as well as smoking, make your circulatory system work harder than it should. 

Conversely, low blood pressure has its own risk factors. The three main factors that contribute to low blood pressure are: age, medication, and pre-existing conditions. 10%-20% of people aged 65 and older have low blood pressure. Certain medications, like alpha blockers, can lower a person’s blood pressure. Additionally, people with certain medical conditions like Diabetes or Parkinson’s Disease, are more likely to develop low blood pressure. 

If you have abnormal blood pressure, you are at an increased risk for experiencing a fall. Hypertension and hypotension can both lead to falls and fractures in older adults. A change to a person’s blood pressure can cause them to become dizzy and potentially fall. Additionally, for the many people who are not on medication for blood pressure irregularities, and those who have not yet received a diagnosis, a sudden change in blood pressure can create the conditions for a fall. 

The traditional treatment for fluctuating blood pressure includes a combination of monitoring, lifestyle changes, and medication. A doctor might ask a patient to regularly measure his or her blood pressure and track changes over time. A person might also add light exercise and a healthy diet to maintain a proper weight. Home management efforts may be sufficient to keep one’s blood pressure under control, but a doctor may prescribe medication if lifestyle changes do not work. 

A medical alert system is useful regardless of your current blood pressure treatment plan. Anyone at an increased risk for falling should learn about personal button alarms. Devices from Alert1 ensure you receive fast care in the event of an emergency. 

New Research on Zinc and Abnormal Blood Pressure

The zinc study published in Nature Communication identified key findings that make zinc a promising treatment for fluctuating blood pressure. The researchers designed the study to investigate brain function, but they ended up finding the connection of zinc to blood pressure. Their main finding is that zinc helped with vascular tone regulation. An appropriate dosage of zinc reduces the amount of calcium in the muscles and helps the nerves relax. Those effects lead to increased blood flow and healthier blood pressure. 

These findings are exciting for people who have chronic high blood pressure or have struggled with their treatment plan. Older people, especially, might be interested enough in this study to revisit their care plan with their doctor. Traditional blood pressure medications come with a wide array of side effects, which make the medications frustrating for many people. Older adults may want to reduce the dosage of their medication to avoid the negative effects, but they will still need to keep their blood pressure under control. A zinc supplement may help with this.   

Zinc is good for more than managing abnormal blood pressure. The mineral is an essential nutrient your body needs for many functions. Various protein syntheses, healing, and reactions in your body need zinc, but your body does not produce it or store it. Zinc also boosts your immune system and is in popular cold remedies, like Emergen-C and Cold-Eeze. Your body gets zinc through the foods you eat, like fortified cereals, red meat and poultry, whole grains, or by a supplement. Most people ingest a normal amount of zinc, but people who may not eat meat or have other dietary restrictions may need to take a supplement. 

The research on the link between zinc and blood pressure is still relatively new. Researchers need to pursue the topic further and run studies to have a more accurate understanding of how zinc interacts with the body’s cardiovascular system. Zinc is already essential for much of the body’s functions, and it may be worth adding to your diet if it is lacking. Your doctor will be able to best advise you in this regard. 

Supplementation Is Just One Part of Staying Healthy

For those aging in place, a healthy lifestyle means more than taking the right medication and going to the doctor. Most seniors respond well to a holistic approach to health, which includes good physical, mental, and social health habits. Visiting medical professionals helps with one’s long-term healthcare, but there are other activities that help with day-to-day well-being. Seniors should consider incorporating the following guidelines into their daily routines to keep them happy, healthy, and resilient.

  1. Be Active: Seniors should aim to do some form of low-impact exercise 20-30 minutes each day. Forms of safe exercise include walking, biking, swimming, or light aerobics. Daily movement helps manage weight and can strengthen the heart and immune system. Many gyms have workout classes for seniors led by trainers.

  2. Eat Healthy: Seniors need a balanced diet of high-fiber foods, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. A good diet helps improve digestion and immunity and may lessen symptoms of other conditions. In addition to healthy eating, seniors should drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

  3. Rest: Sleep is restorative and can help aging people manage stress. Seniors should aim for 8 to 9 hours of sleep at night. If sleep issues are a problem, it can help to establish a bedtime routine that involves winding down, dimming lights, and avoiding food and drinks that would keep you up. Creating a good sleep environment with a cool temperature and comfortable bed can help as well.

  4. Medicine, Vitamins, and Minerals: Keeping up with prescribed medications and supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals are key parts of senior health. Make sure to have a medicine schedule to take the right dosage at the right time. Consult with your doctor to determine what supplements to safely take, if any.

  5. Preventative Care: Seniors can take measures to prevent infections and accidental falls. Schedule regular appointments with your doctor and stay on top of vaccinations. Seniors and their family should also consider a medical alert system in case of emergencies. Knowing you have help if you need it can make seniors more confident and help them feel safe and protected.

  6. Socialize: Staying connected with friends and family can help improve the mental health of seniors. There are many ways to socialize, but visits with family, lunch with friends, or volunteering for local organizations are good options. Those aging in place may be prone to loneliness, so social activities are necessary for emotional and mental health. 

  7. Maintain Hobbies: Hobbies keep the brain active and provide purpose for seniors. These activities help keep the mind sharp and bring joy. Whether it is a daily crossword puzzle, a book, or some kind of craft, seniors should pick up and keep up a hobby to help their mental health. 

Consider a Medical Alert System for Irregular Blood Pressure

For a variety of factors, many aging people are at increased risk of falling, and those with irregular blood pressure are unfortunately at risk. You can try to prevent falls by wearing good shoes, using caution around steps, or using a cane or walker for stability. We recommend that seniors consider a medical alert system, like those offered at Alert1, which guarantees immediate help in the event of a fall or other medical emergency. 

For people with irregular blood pressure, a medical alert system equipped with fall detection technology may be best. These pendants have motion sensors that send an alert when a fall is suspected, even if you are unconscious or can’t speak. For example, if your blood pressure drops suddenly, you may faint and fall to the ground, triggering the alert for you. And, unlike other companies, Alert1 will never charge you for false alarms. Both in-home and on-the-go devices are available, which have the option to add fall detection. Help remains on the line until emergency assistance reaches you.  

The Big Takeaways

The new research about zinc as a possible abnormal blood pressure treatment is certainly something to discuss with one’s doctor. Additionally, adopting healthier habits can improve one’s daily life and general well-being. Eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and gentle exercising benefit physical, mental, and emotional health. 

If you have irregular blood pressure, you need to take its effects seriously. Rapid changes in your blood pressure can have life-threatening consequences. Accidental falls and loss of consciousness may be of concern for those with abnormal blood pressure. Luckily, with proper management and preventative steps, you can have more control over your blood pressure. One of the easiest safeguards you can set up is a medical alert system from Alert1. Alert1 devices have fall detection technology that may summon help in the moments when you need it. Consider complementing your daily health routine with a medical alert system and keep yourself protected at all times.