Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood inside blood vessels. It should ideally be 120/80 mm Hg in arteries under standard conditions. Above 140/90 it is termed high blood pressure or hypertension. Blood pressure which is permanently elevated is considered to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disorders.
High blood pressure has become a common disease. In industrial countries, between 10 and 50% of adults are affected by it. More than 20% of Central Europeans have a permanently and significantly elevated blood pressure (above 160 mmHg). The frequency increases significantly with age. Only about 1 in 4 people aged 60 or over have normal blood pressure readings. In Europe, Germany is the frontrunner when it comes to the frequency of high blood pressure.
Blood pressure increases with exertion – with strenuous exercise as well as stress. Pregnancy and some medications also raise blood pressure. This is perfectly normal. We use the term high blood pressure if it is above 140/90 mm Hg permanently and at rest.
Blood pressure readings can be classified as follows:
- Optimal readings: below 120/80mmHg
- Normal readings: below 130/85mmHg
- High normal readings: below 140/90mmHg
- High blood pressure (severity 1): below 160/100mmHg
- High blood pressure (severity 2): below 180/110mmHg
- High blood pressure (severity 3): above 180/110mmHg
- Isolated systolic high blood pressure: above 140/ below 90mmHg
Generally, there are 2 types of high blood pressure: primary and secondary. If there is no identifiable cause, this is termed primary hypertension. High blood pressure is considered to be the actual disease. This is described as the diagnosis by exclusion.
If the blood pressure increases due to an underlying secondary cause, this is termed secondary hypertension. The causes are usually disorders of the hormonal system or cardiovascular system or renal damage.
Many factors affect blood pressure, some just temporarily, others permanently:
- Exertion, exercise
- Tension, psychological stress
- Lack of exercise
- Weight (BMI)
- Deficiency of particular vitamins, amino acids or minerals (also excess)
- Hormonal control
- Organ function (thyroid, heart, kidneys, lungs)
- Hereditary factors
- Medications, alcohol, nicotine
Blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure exerted by the blood inside a blood vessel. Blood pressure readings are given in units of millimetres of mercury (mmHg). These are always stated as two values. First, the systolic and then the diastolic reading is given. When the heart contracts, the blood is forced out of the left chamber into the body's circulatory system. The pressure is transferred via the aorta to the subsequent arteries. This phase is described as systole. This is why this pressure is called systolic blood pressure. After systole, the pressure in the vessels decreases. The reading in this phase is described as the diastolic value, and it, therefore, indicates relaxation.
Permanent high blood pressure puts a strain on the vessels and various organs. Furthermore, it raises the risk of arteriosclerosis, which is deposits in the vessels. These, in turn, promote the development of cardiovascular diseases, primarily heart attack and stroke. The more risk factors for hypertension that appear, the greater the danger of these life-threatening diseases. Other factors are severe obesity, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol levels. Therefore, it is especially important for diabetics and people who are overweight to make sure that their blood pressure readings are healthy. High blood pressure also damages the heart muscle, the kidneys and the retina of the eyes.
Depending on the cause, age, severity of hypertension and the condition of the other organs, there is a variety of extremely effective medications that lower blood pressure. These must be prescribed by a doctor.
In addition, there is also a wide range of measures that can lower high blood pressure or prevent this from occurring.
You can find suggestions here for home remedies and behaviours with which you can gently regulate your blood pressure:
Eat in a health-conscious manner:
- Plenty of vegetables
- Few animal fats
- Good vegetable oils
- Plenty of fermented milk products (sourdough bread, sauerkraut)
- Exercise regularly in the fresh air, do light endurance training
- Do not smoke!
- Make sure to take plenty of antioxidants: vitamin C, dark berries, fruit
- Strive for normal weight or pay attention to your BMI, or even better your abdominal girth (women maximum of 88 cm, men 102 cm)
- Avoid stress and ensure that you have sufficient time to relax!
- Consult your pharmacist, doctor or alternative practitioner
As tension and stress also have a major effect, relaxation activities are beneficial.
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