Elevated blood pressure can be a health risk. The following summary gives you an overview on what causes it and what you need to know about high blood pressure.
Arterial blood pressure is caused by the pressure of the blood against the arterial walls. The heart acts as a pump and each beat causes an increase in the arterial pressure.
There are two different pressure values at the exit from the heart:
Arterial blood pressure is measured using an inflatable cuff. This is slipped over the arm or wrist. Measurement should only take place after five minutes of sitting quietly or lying down. The device measures the pressure in the arm artery while the air is released from the cuff.
The measured blood pressure value includes two numbers:
Different devices can be used:
High blood pressure is when the blood pressure is measured with a value of 140/90 mmHg or above. Blood pressure is measured at a state of rest in a doctor’s office.
The two measured values correspond to:
Taking blood pressure measurements regularly can detect diseases, even if they go on for long periods of time without showing obvious symptoms.
In most cases, high blood pressure occurs for no discernible reason - so-called essential hypertension. However, a small number of people with high blood pressure have anomalies in their kidney or adrenal gland function. In this case, the condition is called secondary hypertension.
There are many factors that encourage the appearance of high blood pressure – for example:
However, it has been found that the occurrence of arterial hypertension can be limited or delayed in certain patients. The most important preventative measures are lifestyle factors - these include sports, consuming less salt and alcohol, and losing weight.
Arterial blood pressure which is too high primarily affects the blood vessels. The vessel walls become stiffer and thicker. In the long-term, the impact can be severe - for example on the heart, brain or kidneys.
Possible effects of arterial hypertension: