High blood pressure – and what can you do about it
Our blood needs a certain amount of pressure in order to circulate properly through our body. For this, every heartbeat produces a burst of pressure, which then pushes the blood through the arteries. If the blood pressure is permanently too high (above 140/90 mm Hg), the person becomes susceptible to health problems. High blood pressure, also known as hypertonia, can damage the vital organs over the years and is considered to be a main factor in causing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. Moreover, excessively high blood pressure can also damage the kidneys or impair one's vision. High blood pressure normally goes unnoticed, which is why approximately one third of all those affected don't even know that they have this condition. It is therefore important to check one's blood pressure regularly, at the latest starting from the age of 60.
It's important to distinguish between two types of high blood pressure: Primary (essential) hypertonia refers to a separate disease pattern, whose cause is largely unknown. Here, treatment focuses mostly on eliminating the risk factors. In the case of very high blood pressure, the doctor may prescribe medication. Secondary hypertonia, on the other hand, refers to the side effects of another illness, and treatment must therefore address the primary condition.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing or eliminating the risk factors is the most effective way of treating high blood pressure. But even those who have severe hypertonia can keep their need for medication to a minimum by adjusting their lifestyle. Persons with only minor symptoms may even be able to lower their blood pressure to the normal range. In terms of prevention, improving your general health can make a big difference.
What to pay attention to
- Measure your blood pressure regularly
- Follow your doctor's recommendations
- Reduce excess weight
- Drink only moderate amounts of alcohol
- Use only small amounts of cooking salt
- Aim for a healthy and balanced diet
- Stay away from nicotine
- Exercise regularly
- Make sure you take breaks and find time to relax