You spend a lot of time helping your aging relative to stay as healthy as possible. But, sometimes it’s hard to know for sure how they’re doing just by looking at them. For example, you can’t necessarily see if their heart is healthy. One way you can know the status of an older adult’s heart health is by being aware of certain numbers, like those below.
Blood pressure is how much force blood exerts against the walls of blood vessels as it flows through. It is measured using two numbers, which you might hear the doctor or nurse express as something like “120 over 80.” The top number is the systolic blood pressure. That’s how much pressure the blood is placing on the vessels during a heartbeat. The bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure. It’s the pressure when the heart is resting between beats. A healthy blood pressure is lower than 120/80. When blood pressure is consistently high, it places strain on the heart as well as the arteries.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, usually has no symptoms. The only way to know if your family member has high blood pressure is to have it checked.
Resting Heart Rate
Resting heart rate is just what it sounds like—how many times the heart beats while a person is at rest. When the number of beats per minute is lower, the person is at a lower risk for death. Typically, a healthy resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
Cholesterol levels are reported using four different numbers:
- HDL: This is the “good” kind of cholesterol. For women, a good HDL level is 50 mg/dL or higher. For men, it’s 40 mg/dL or higher.
- LDL: LDL is “bad” cholesterol. Ideally, it should be 100 mg/dL or lower.
- Triglycerides: Triglycerides are a kind of fat that is in the blood. Excess calories that the body doesn’t need are turned into triglycerides, so a person who routinely eats more than they should may have high triglycerides. Triglyceride levels should be 150 mg/dL or lower.
- Total Cholesterol: Total cholesterol is a combination of HDL plus LDL plus 20 percent of the triglyceride level. A good total cholesterol level is 200 or lower.
There are, of course, other factors that influence heart health. If you’re concerned about your aging relative’s heart health, senior care can help them to follow heart healthy habits. A senior care provider can prepare balanced meals that help to control or reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Senior care providers can also encourage your loved one to be more physically active by including them in activities around the house, going for walks, or driving them to the gym. In addition, if the older adult is already taking medications to control cholesterol or blood pressure levels, a senior care provider can make certain they don’t forget to take them.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING SENIOR CARE IN SUN CITY WEST, AZ, CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY (623) 748-3301.