We speak of hypertension, high blood pressure, when 3 to 5 consecutive measurements show a blood pressure with a systolic pressure above 140 mm Hg and/or a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg.
An increased blood pressure in one of the main risk factors for the development of cerebral infarctions and haemorrhages, heart failure, diseases of the coronary arteries, and other forms of vascular diseases. A timely treatment can normalise the risk of these diseases or conditions. An increased blood pressure will not give any complaints during the first stage. Only later in life, the consequences can come to light. This is why it is important to establish hypertension in time.
Making the diagnosis for hypertension is not easy. The blood pressure is a highly variable phenomenon and differences in the measured values up to 50% are not uncommon. The blood pressure can be measured by the physician, by the doctor’s assistant, but also at home. All these different circumstances will result in different values. It can broadly be said that a blood pressure of more than 180/100 will nearly always be a reason for treatment. With lower values, it depends on the accompanying circumstances whether, and which, treatment will be started.
A change in lifestyle and habits plays an important role in the overall treatment. A light diet with limited salt, losing weight, reducing the intake of alcohol, and regular physical activities are often enough to turn a light form of hypertension into a normal blood pressure. The problem is that it often appears to be difficult to maintain these changes in the long term.
It may also be necessary to take medication. Medications often have adverse effects and the same applies to those that are used against a high blood pressure. We always take these into account. What may be effective for one patient, is not necessarily so for the other. Adverse effects that matter to one person may be deemed as less important to the other. Our objective is always to find the treatment of which the effectiveness (lowering the risk of cardiovascular and cerebral diseases) outweighs the possible adverse effects of the medications.
We also want to you to bear in mind that the effect of the treatment can only be established after a few months, meaning that it may take up to a year before a normal blood pressure has been reached.
GP OR INTERNIST
Especially when you have a lighter form of hypertension, which can be treated with a limited number of measures and there is no damage to the organs, you can be referred back to your GP.