The latest studies show that there is a connection between high blood pressure and dementia. And it starts earlier in life. Researchers from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development study found people with higher blood pressure by age 53 had more blood vessel damage by the time they reached their early 70. This is caused by “mini-strokes”. Furthermore, the damage caused by high blood pressure has been shown in previous studies to play a role in dementia development.
The Good News
There is a lot you can do to keep your blood pressure in check and ward off Dementia.
Step#1- Check Your Blood Pressure Regularly
This is especially important if high blood pressure runs in your family. Also, it is important if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Even if you are on medication it is smart to keep a watchful eye on your condition. Over time your medication may need to be adjusted.
Blood pressure monitors can be found at most drug stores and big-box stores. And they are pretty inexpensive. Ask your pharmacist which one they recommend.
Now Add it to Your Calendar
Schedule a morning and an evening (or mid-day if you can) check once a week. Keep a record of your numbers. This will be very helpful to your doctor if any adjustments need to be made.
Step#2- Take Your Medication as Prescribed
This is huge! Do not stop taking the medication because you “feel fine now!” Partner with your doctor. If you notice someone you love is not taking their medication as prescribed it is time to take action.
“My mother -in -law did not like to take medication. As such she would take in some days and not others. And I know this is probably why she started to have a series of mini-strokes. Furthermore, this led to dementia. It is so sad because it didn’t have to happen.”
Step #3- Learn to Let Go
Stress plays a role in every disease. And blood pressure naturally rises when you are under a lot of stress. The truth is most stress is self-inflicted. Two people can be in the same situation and have completely different experiences. It is all about how you perceive the situation.
We are designed to move. And that doesn’t mean that you go crazy working out on the weekend only. Find a way to incorporate movement into your routine every day. Get up early and take a walk, run or short bike ride. Turn off the TV an hour before bedtime and take another walk. Or make this a family affair right after dinner. Getting your children involved in a movement routine will be good for them also.
Join a gym, sign up for a fitness or yoga class and just do it! Consider getting a tracker like Fitbit to monitor your progress. If you are competitive you can connect with a friend and monitor the progress of each other.
“When we moved to Texas, I really missed my sister. Sheila was my walking buddy. She also pushed me to do more at the gym. Now we keep track of each other’s progress through our Fitbit. And we talk on the phone while we walk”
Having a Spiritual Practice can do a lot to help you lower your blood pressure. When you are able to give your worries and problems to a higher power your whole body will relax. You may want to join a prayer group, practice meditation or simply journal. Make sure to surround yourself with people of like mind.
Making Work Changes or Relationship Changes
Worry and stress go hand in hand. And if your work or your relationship is not working, you may need to make changes. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to quit your job or get a divorce. But you do have to have a clear vision of what you want your life to look like. Then you need to take steps in that direction.
Get the Help You Need!
Staying stuck in worry about life situations can and probably will cause your blood pressure to rise. Reach out to a life coach, your pastor, a counselor or a support group. Often when we get stuck it is because we do not have a clear vision. We are too deep into our problems to see the door or window that is opening. Someone who is not attached to the outcome will usually have a much clearer picture of what steps you need to take.
By making a few small tweaks to your lifestyle you will lower your risk of dementia, especially vascular dementia. And if you are a caregiver you know all too well how important this is.
At Sycamore Creek Ranch we take care of your loved one so you can take care of you. Let’s stop this vicious cycle of dementia. Learn about our Proactive Expert Care.