Increased Blood Pressure
Contrary to other diseases hypertension does not cause any pain and does not lead to any interferences in the beginning. Many patients just feel active and powerful and do not understand that they are in a condition which requires medical treatment.
Hypertension – what´s it all about?
The myocardial muscle pumps about 70 times a minute blood into the blood vessels of the body. At contraction the muscle pumps blood into the blood vessels – blood pressure reaches its highest value. At relaxation of the myocardial muscle blood comes into the blood vessels with low pressure – blood pressure decreases to its lowest value. So blood pressure is stated in two values, e.g. 120/80 (the units are mmHg). These values are fluctuating during the day. This is normal within a certain range in order to adapt to different requirements (e.g. physical exercise). It is a fact that certain blood pressure values should not be exceeded over a longer time. The normal range following the recommendations of the WHO is 135 (high value)/85 (low value). The blood pressure of diabetics should not exceed 130/80.
Causes of hypertension
In some cases hypertension is caused by diseases of certain organs, e.g. the kidneys. The most common kind of hypertension, the „essential hypertension“ is triggered by different reasons which are not completely known. In some cases hypertension can be geneticallly forwarded from one member of a family to another. Another common reason for hypertension is overweight. Other factors like a demanding lifestyle (stress) without relaxing phases, high intake of salt or smoking play an important role.
Why is hypertension dangerous?
High blood pressure damages heart and blood vessels. The heart needs more power to pump and can therefore increase dramatically in size which leads to a highered oxygen consumption. The blood vessels decrease in volume and lose elasticity and flexibility. Due to that the brain, the kidneys and the heart will face a lack of blood. This may lead to heart problems like Angina Pectoris or to heart attack. Later the kidneys could fail and hypertension can lead to a stroke. Together with smoking and high blood fat values hypertension is one of the most dangerous risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
What are the symptoms of hypertension?
Many people feel OK for a very long time despite of hypertension and have no problems. Others suffer from headache, dizziness, respiratory problems and tiredness. Headache is common in the morning but only stays for one or two hours. All there symptoms can also be caused by other reasons – regular control of blood pressure will help to clarify the condition.
Treatment of hypertension
High blood pressure can only be normalized by appropriate treatment. Cooperation between physician and patient is of the highest importance. The treatment is adapted for the needs of the patient. Included is also education in terms of lifestyle, exercise, weight loss and nutrition.
The measurement of blood pressure
- The patient should be seated for some minutes to be relaxed.
- Avoid intensive strain or mental stress.
- Avoid intake of high volumes of liquids directly prior to measurement; the bladder should be emptied.
- Avoid alcohol and nicotine minimum one hour before measurement.
- Note time of intake of blood pressure lowering medication in the protocol.
- The first measurement should be performed on both arms; if differences are too high more controls have to follow.
- Control measurement should be performed at the arm with higher blood pressure – usually the left arm (nearer to the heart).
- Wait some minutes before repeating the measurement