T Nation

High Blood Pressure Help


#1

My mother in law is 71 years old and was having pain around her heart recently. The hospital ran a bunch of tests and found that she has high blood pressure.

She would like for me to find some nutritional information for her. I mentioned salmon oil , but was wondering if anyone here knows of a good article explaining the benefits of salmon oil. I did a search for high blood pressure, but didn't really find the information I was looking for.

Also, if you have any other advice I would really appreciate it!

Thanks!


#2

How high is her bp? Obviously, there are varying degrees of hypertension, some that can be alterd through lifestyle changes, others that will need medication such as beta blockers, diuretics or ACE inhibitors.

Is your mother in law overweight? There is a pretty strong correlation between weight and blood pressure.

How physically active is she? I know she's 71, but if she increased the amount of cv work she did (if age related conditions allow)this could also positively affect her blood pressure, especially if the increasein exercise positively affected her weight (if it is high).

The best piece of advice is to listen to the doctors and not us internet nerds! Often nowadays doctors are more receptive to using dietary modification, or exercise, to treat such conditions if possible.

Try to convince her not to worry to much. This can only compound the situation.

Wheels


#3

Definately something that she should talk to her doc about.

Those with high BP need to watch their sodium intake, other than that eating minimally processed foods is the route to go, interestingly though, that's how we should be eating anyways.

Lots of fruits/veggies, whole grains, seafood, lean meats (not cured or deli style due to high sodium levels).

Stress and inactivity are other culprits that should be addressed as well.


#4

However, these threads are good in that someone may be in the either the same situation themselves or someone they know may be/have been, and therefore have some very good pertinent information they can discuss with a doctor or 2. .......I myself had such a diagnosis and overcame it.

Some advice would be to watch out for high sodium foods [many canned foods especially-read labels] Ask docs about daily sodium intake levels- they'll probably mention about 2000mg being a good limit. Some kind of calming/non-stress art hobby might be a good idea too.

As for salmon oil info, google up a and read a dozen related sites and you'll get a good idea on what to take as the best qualities/reservations with that item.


#5

Check with the hospital, parks and recreation or a senior center about a "senior" exercise or aerobics program. My mother had that problem in her early 70's and thats what helped her and she's pushing 90 now.


#6

Absolutely first, find out if she is taking any regular medication-over the counter or prescription. Make a list.


#7

Thanks for the tips guys. I will talk to her about these things.

As for the suggestion that she join a senior's exercise class, I had to laugh because she doesn't consider herself a senior. Probably because she didn't get married or have kids until she was in her 40's. She has only been without kids at home for a few years; she just got her first grandkid, etc. Not the typical 71 year old!

The biggest problem is her stress level. Her and my father-in-law, who is 72, have a 2500 acre farm plus 80 head of cattle that they take care of all alone. It is a physically demanding job. They also have laying chickens, a milk cow, and they make all their own hay and grow most of their own food.

They run this on a shoestring budget, just making enough to get by. Something is always going wrong, be it the weather, the markets, the equipment breaking down, or mad cow disease. She is always stressed out but my father in law refuses to sell the farm or even downsize.

Anyway, sorry for rambling on, it's just a frustrating situation.


#8

I hoped that the initial information that I relayed was pertinent, or at least thought provoking, in that it would source possible/probable causes of the problem.

Whilst sodium can be a trigger to high blood pressure there really isn't a clear cut, distict link between the two. Yes, sodium may cause high bp, but ONLY in susceptible individuals!

It appears that the likely cause is the stress of running the farm. One way of dealing with the stress could be with some meditative relaxation techniques. Half an hour daily MAY have a beneficial effect on her bp.

Other than that medication may be the best option.

Wheels


#9

Steelwheels,
Good point about the sodium and BP. While eating a lot of sodium may not cause high BP, eating a lot while you have high BP isn't a good idea.