Hypertension: From which values the blood pressure is too high
Around 20 to 30 million Germans suffer from high blood pressure. Hypertension increases the risk of numerous other diseases. The disease is often treated with medication, but in many cases gentler methods are enough to lower blood pressure. But which values are too high or which are worth striving for? German experts advocate moderate target values.
Every third adult German has high blood pressure
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), almost every third adult in Germany suffers from hypertension. Many have no idea of their high blood pressure. This can have dangerous consequences, because untreated high blood pressure increases the risk of, among other things, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, coronary artery disease, kidney failure and even dementia. So it is clear that it is better to diagnose and treat hypertension early, but many are unaware of the values to be striven for.
Hypertension can have different causes
Some people think that high blood pressure is an “age-related illness”. But this assumption is wrong. Older people in particular fall ill, but younger people are also increasingly affected.
In addition to advanced age, overweight or obesity, too little exercise, an unhealthy diet that is too rich in salt and meat, tobacco and increased alcohol consumption and stress are also risk factors.
And high blood pressure is also promoted by taking painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol.
There is largely agreement on the causes and dangers of high blood pressure, but when are the blood pressure values actually dangerous or how far should they be reduced? A dispute has arisen among health experts over the past few years.
New blood pressure target
When diagnosing blood pressure, attention is paid to two values at the same time: firstly, the systolic (upper value) and secondly the diastolic blood pressure (lower value).
For a long time, medicine was justifiable if the systolic value was not above 140, everything above should be treated.
But after the publication of the so-called sprint study from the USA two years ago, it was said that the new blood pressure target should be 120 instead of 140.
In this country too, patients turned to doctors because they rated their values as too high.
Study results apply only to certain patients
What was not clear to many: The results of the “Sprint” study only apply to certain patients. The German High Pressure League therefore only pointed out a few weeks ago that it is sticking to "moderate target values".
"Due to the extended data situation according to SPRINT as well as related publications and meta-analyzes, we still recommend a general target value of less than 140/90 mmHg", explained Professor Dr.med. Bernhard Krämer, CEO of the high pressure league, in a message.
According to the information, the moderate target blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg is currently achieved in less than 60 percent of patients. "The most important treatment goal for all doctors must therefore be that this blood pressure target is reached," said the expert.
"A more intensive lowering of blood pressure goes hand in hand with more side effects," explained Professor Krämer. "It therefore requires regular laboratory tests on kidney function and electrolytes."
Too much reduction leads to impairment of the quality of life
Yvonne Dörffel, head of the medical polyclinic at the Berlin Charité, also knows that blood pressure should not be too low.
"We have observed that an excessively large reduction can lead to considerable impairments in the quality of life for many patients and thus also negatively affect the adherence to medication," said the expert in a message from the dpa news agency.
This means that patients do not take the medication regularly or stop taking it. "In some patients, even increased kidney values can occur," says Dörffel. In the case of the desired blood pressure values, she considers an individual case assessment to be necessary:
"I recommend that target values are generally set individually. In patients under the age of 60 who have a cardiovascular risk, I think a reduction to 120 to 130 mmHg makes sense, but only if the initial values allow it, ”explained the doctor in the agency report.
And: "For over 60-year-olds, a reduction to less than 140 mmHg is appropriate regardless of the extent of the cardiovascular risk."
Service in pharmacies
If you want to have your blood pressure checked, you can also contact pharmacies that offer this service.
Ulrike Lange also offers this service in her pharmacy in Berlin-Kreuzberg. "If we observe any abnormalities, we immediately recommend that our customers go to the doctor," says the 39-year-old pharmacist, according to dpa.
She explained that most of her customers have a specific reason why they have their blood pressure measured: "Mostly it is a headache, dizziness or a general feeling of being unwell."
According to experts, it is not enough just to measure blood pressure from time to time. "It is important that blood pressure is measured regularly in order to detect any possible high pressure," said Hannelore Neuhauser from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in the dpa report.
"It is also good to know whether the blood pressure may be in an area that is not yet considered to require medication, but is no longer harmless."
Lower blood pressure naturally
In many cases, high blood pressure can be reduced without medication anyway.
In addition to weight loss, regular exercise - ideally endurance sports - and refraining from smoking, a balanced, healthy diet can also help to reduce blood pressure.
It is very important here: salt only in moderation. A high-salt diet can raise blood pressure. No more than four to six grams of salt should be consumed per day. It should be noted that large quantities of salt are often contained in most finished products.
The menu should generally contain a lot of fruits and vegetables. Garlic, beetroot juices and hawthorn are particularly recommended.
According to scientific research, hot chilies and natural yoghurt can also help to relieve high blood pressure.
A magnesium supplement also helps in many cases. Alcohol should be avoided as far as possible.
Furthermore, relaxation exercises for stress relief such as yoga or autogenic training can be very effective and positively influence high blood pressure values.
Some home remedies for high blood pressure, such as Kneipp treatments, can offer good support. (ad)