It’s hard to imagine, but some people do experience changes to their health when caring for a parent. The emotional strain can make you isolated and anxious or depressed. Dietary changes may lead to obesity, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
Does this mean your health will definitely change? Not necessarily, but you need to be proactive. You need to understand the warning signs and take steps to prevent family caregiving from impacting your health.
Why Does Blood Pressure Increase?
While there are links to family history and high blood pressure, it’s not the only case. Too much stress, a diet high in sodium, and excess body weight all impact the pressure of the blood that’s rushing through your veins.
High blood pressure isn’t always noticeable. You may feel lightheaded, but not everyone does. The only way to really know if it’s an issue is by taking blood pressure readings on a regular basis. You can do this at home using a home sphygmometer. The goal is to have numbers lower than 120 over 80. If it is consistently higher, you need to see a doctor.
If you do have high blood pressure, diet and exercise are likely to be recommended before you go onto medications. Ideally, you should get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity each day and eat a diet that focuses more on vegetables than protein. Try to fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with a whole grain, and the other quarter with a lean protein source.
How Can You Tell If You’re Depressed?
Depression is more than feeling sad. You lose interest in activities you formerly enjoyed. A depressed person feels blue every day for months. Sleep changes can indicate depression is a possibility. Weight loss or weight gain, suicidal thoughts, and mood swings are other indicators. If depression is suspected, it’s important to get help. Medications, therapy, and a focus on self-care will help you feel better.
Take Breaks, Even If You Don’t Feel That It’s Necessary
You may think you’re doing fine and that you can keep going. You need to take regular breaks as a preventative measure against burning out. Stop and think about the difficulties you’ll face if you don’t reach out for help. If you’re letting your own physical and mental health slip and you reach a crisis point, what happens to your mom or dad? Who will care for them if you can’t?
Home care is designed to help lighten your load. Call an agency to discuss home care services that give you more time to yourself. Respite care is an important home care service as it helps you take a break. Arrange respite care today and start taking care of yourself for a change.