Prevent high blood pressure: It is best to check your blood pressure regularly
As many as 20 to 30 million people in Germany have high blood pressure, but many do not know that they have it. That can be dangerous: leaving high blood pressure untreated can lead to heart attacks or strokes. The purpose of Hypertension Day on May 17 is to make people aware of their own blood pressure values.
In the beginning, high blood pressure often does not cause any discomfort. That is why doctors also call it the “silent killer”. The affected person feels healthy and fit for a long time, although high blood pressure actually overloads the heart, kidneys and blood vessels on a permanent basis. In the worst case scenario, there is a risk of life threatening illnesses, such as heart attack, stroke or kidney failure.
It is all the more important to be familiar with your own blood pressure. This is especially true when someone in your family already has high blood pressure. This is due to the fact that high blood pressure runs in certain families – so it is partly hereditary. If you already suffer from headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath or tiredness, you should contact a doctor as soon as possible. He will not only check your blood pressure, but also immediately suggest any therapy that might be necessary.
When measuring blood pressure, two values are always determined: the systolic and diastolic values. Every day, our heart pumps around 8,000 litres of blood through the body – a peak performance that is necessary to provide our organism with oxygen and nutrients. The pressure that results from the pumping of the heart to transport blood through the blood vessels is our blood pressure. The maximum pressure during the contraction or pumping phase is called the systolic value. The lower pressure during the filling phase of the heart is the diastolic value. The blood pressure itself is stated in millimetres of mercury (= mmHg). High blood pressure is medically defined as when blood pressure values of 140/90 mmHg or higher are measured by a doctor at least at two different times (“practical measurement”).
Even slightly elevated blood pressure increases the risk of secondary damage. Everybody should therefore be familiar with their own blood pressure values. You do not have to go to the doctor to measure your blood pressure; you can easily determine your levels at home using a blood pressure monitor. Blood pressure readings that are regularly measured by a patient himself are even more meaningful than when a doctor determines blood pressure a single time in his practice. The most suitable devices are modern sphygmomanometers (such as the new Medisana Connect blood pressure devices launched this fall) which are easy to use and measure blood pressure accurately. The display is large and clear and shows all the values such that they are easily legible. The measured values are stored automatically.
If the blood pressure is 135 to 85 or higher over several days, you should consult a doctor. High blood pressure is already present if one of these two values exceeds this limit. Especially with only slightly increased values, simple means are often sufficient to lower the blood pressure. The three pillars of long-term correct blood pressure are: a healthy diet, reducing stress and sufficient exercise.
► Healthy diet
One of the most common triggers for high blood pressure is obesity. Even a weight reduction of a few kilos usually leads to a significant reduction in blood pressure. It is important to have a low-calorie diet that is high in carbohydrates and fibre. It is highly recommended to have fruits, vegetables and whole grains and not a lot of meat or sweets. Adding too much salt to food should be avoided, since table salt has been shown to increase blood pressure. You can also make food taste good by using herbs.
► Reducing stress
There is no longer any doubt today that mental factors play a role in the development of hypertension. In particular, anger and anxiety can lead to hypertension over time. Of course, stress at work, with your family or in your partnership sometimes cannot be avoided. However, the problems should not get out of hand. Sufficient sleep, free time, relaxation and holidays are part of a healthy life.
► Sufficient exercise
Scientific studies show that sports not only prevent high blood pressure, but also treat it. With optimal training, the blood pressure can be lowered by 5-10 mmHg. Especially suitable are endurance sports such as jogging, walking, cycling or swimming. Excessive ambition and fighting spirit are counterproductive, since they unnecessarily increase blood pressure.
If the blood pressure can no longer be brought to a normal level with a healthy lifestyle, the doctor will prescribe medication. There are many very effective means on the market to lower your blood pressure.
New Connect blood pressure monitors from Medisana
Medisana will be launching two new blood pressure monitors in the autumn of 2018. These expand upon the proven Connect series of the health care company from Neuss. The upper-arm blood pressure monitors not only are easy to use and provide very accurate measurement results; the data is also available at any time, thanks to the Connect technology. The measurement results can be transferred to a mobile phone and even sent directly to the doctor. The data is transferred via Bluetooth Smart (4.0) to the free VitaDock+ app. All the measurement results can also be displayed in clear graphics on the mobile phone. Each value can even be supplemented with comments. The prices for the new monitors start at 24.95 euro.