Check yourself whether your blood pressure is too high

High blood pressure is quite dangerous. If you know that this is bothering you, something needs to be done. If it is a slight increase, lifestyle rules may help. But otherwise the doctor will prescribe medication to lower blood pressure. How do you know if your blood pressure is too high? By measuring it, because usually you don’t feel it.

What is high blood pressure and what is its danger?

If the blood pressure is too high, this is referred to in medical terms as hypertension. The pressure on the walls of the arteries is then too high. This poses a number of risks, including damage to blood vessels, eyes, other organs and even a heart attack or stroke.
Blood pressure is expressed in 2 numbers, with the highest being mentioned first. For example, 120/80, pronounced as 120 over (or above) 80. The first number is the upper pressure (also called systolic blood pressure) and is the blood pressure that arises when the heart muscle contracts. The second number is the negative pressure (diastolic blood pressure) that occurs when the heart muscle relaxes. Exactly the same values
are not used everywhere in the medical world to determine whether blood pressure is too high. A person’s age or medical condition can also be taken into account.
A commonly used rule of thumb is 140/90.

How do you notice that your blood pressure is too high?

The annoying thing about high blood pressure is that you often don’t notice it yourself. In fact, measuring is the only way to detect hypertension. That is why it often comes to light “by chance”, for example during a sports inspection.

What will the doctor do if you have high blood pressure?

If your doctor suspects elevated blood pressure, he or she will take your blood pressure several times (for example over a period of 2 or 3 weeks). This is to prevent conclusions being drawn from 1 isolated measurement, which indicates a high value because you are very nervous (also called “white coat hypertension”). Often some of these blood pressure measurements are carried out by the doctor’s assistant.
If your blood pressure is elevated, the doctor will perform a physical examination and blood tests to determine whether a medical cause can be found, such as kidney problems or a hormonal disorder. If a medical cause is found, treatment will of course focus on that.
If no cause can be found (which is the case in the majority of cases), you can choose to apply lifestyle rules if there is slightly increased blood pressure. Rules include losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more, cutting down on alcohol, limiting salt consumption and eating less or no liquorice. Did you know that all types of licorice (and not just salty ones) can increase your blood pressure?
If the lifestyle rules do not help enough or if the blood pressure is too high, a doctor will generally prescribe medication.
Naturally, your doctor will have you return periodically for a physical examination and blood pressure check. The latter is usually done by the doctor’s assistant.

You can also check your blood pressure yourself

In consultation with your doctor, you can also do some of the blood pressure control yourself. The advantage is that you have to go back to the doctor less often. Also, if you check yourself, you will not suffer from “white coat hypertension”. It is best
to use a good, fully automatic upper arm meter to measure blood pressure yourself (which can be purchased for less than 100 euros). You then put the cuff around your upper arm and press a button, after which the measurement of your upper and lower pressure takes place automatically. The pulse is usually also measured.
There are also meters for sale that you can wear on your wrist. The disadvantage of this is that they only provide a reliable measurement if you hold your arm during the measurement so that the pulse monitor is at the level of the heart.

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