Blood pressure is the pressure on the arteries created by the pumping of the heart. Blood pressure has two values, the upper pressure and the lower pressure. If this value exceeds 140/90 mmHg, we speak of high blood pressure or hypertension. You often don’t notice this, but high blood pressure can still be dangerous. It is a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease, but can also lead to damage to the brain and kidneys.
Causes of high blood pressure
The problem with hypertension is that you don’t always recognize it. It is important to look at the causes first. This will let you know right away if you have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure. Age plays a role, because in older people the artery wall of the arteries becomes less flexible. Until middle age, it is mainly men who suffer from hypertension. In women, it is more common after menopause.
Being overweight, not exercising enough, smoking, stress, and eating a lot of salt all increase the risk of hypertension. This also applies to people with kidney disease.
Because hypertension often produces no symptoms, its dangers are underestimated. In the short term, an increase in blood pressure does not pose a problem. In the long term, it is certainly a threat to ones health. For example, the effects of hypertension are cause of death number one.
With high blood pressure, the veins constrict. This forces the heart to pump harder, resulting in more pressure on the artery walls. This even higher blood pressure causes damage to the veins, also known as arteriosclerosis. Large blood arteries become clogged, the heart muscle becomes overstretched, and there is a blockage in the blood supply to the brain. Hypertension is a risk factor for stroke or heart attack.
High blood pressure combined with pregnancy leads to damage to the placenta, compromising the development of the fetus. In addition, high blood pressure causes damage to the retina of the eyes and damage to the kidneys.
Many people with hypertension don’t notice this at all. Or they may have vague symptoms that do not directly lead to hypertension. The only way to recognize this is an examination by the doctor. This one performs a blood pressure measurement that shows if there is high blood pressure.
Blood pressure can also be measured at home. This requires a blood pressure monitor. Blood pressure monitors with a cuff around the upper arm give reliable results. The wrist blood pressure monitor is more economical, but it is important with this monitor to have the correct posture during the measurement.
Approximately 15% of the population is affected by hypertension. If this condition runs in your family more frequently or if you are overweight or do not exercise enough, it is important to measure your blood pressure yourself. This includes people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease or kidney disease.