What to do if I have high blood pressure?
If the doctor finds that you have high blood pressure, he or she will usually recommend that you first change your personal lifestyle in order to achieve a natural lowering of blood pressure and reduce risk factors. These measures include increased exercise, weight reduction if overweight, moderate consumption of alcohol and a low-salt diet. The next step after the so-called lifestyle modification, is then a drug-based reduction of blood pressure.
The first step is to try to lower the blood pressure with the help of a drug, but often two or three drugs with different modes of action are needed. However, parallel to drug therapy, measures should also be taken to reduce factors that increase blood pressure, so that the dose of the drugs can be reduced or even discontinued altogether. A borderline body weight is defined as having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 25 or higher, which is calculated by dividing the body weight by the height squared.
A normal weight corresponds to a value between 18.5 and 24.9. Stress also frequently drives up blood pressure, so mechanisms should be developed to reduce it. Some people can be helped by autogenic training or other relaxation techniques.
Some herbal agents are also believed to have a blood pressure-lowering effect. These include garlic (Allium sativum), hawthorn (Crataegus), mistletoe (Viscum album), and wild garlic (Rauwolfia serpentina). These are available without prescription from pharmacies, but the doctor treating you should also be consulted if you are taking herbal antihypertensive drugs.
The first step in the therapy of a hypertension patient is the so-called lifestyle modification, which primarily involves a healthy diet and regular exercise. Especially the combination of elevated blood fat values, overweight and high blood pressure can be dangerous for the cardiovascular system, for example in the context of infarctions. A Mediterranean diet is recommended, with plenty of fruit, vegetables and healthy fats.
Vegetable fats in particular should be used. Animal fats, such as those found in butter, cream and meat, are best reduced to a minimum. A diet rich in fibre, for example in grain products, should also be consumed.
A high-salt diet should definitely be avoided, as high salt consumption leads to an increase in blood pressure. Especially fast food dishes have a high salt content. Therefore it is recommended to cook yourself, so that you can determine the amount of salt yourself.
The increased salt concentration in the body ensures that the body excretes less fluid in balance and more fluid flows into the blood vessels to compensate for the high salt content there, so that blood pressure rises. Overall, a daily salt intake of up to 6 grams per day is recommended for hypertension patients, while normal salt intake is usually between 12 and 15 grams per day. If the salt intake is sufficiently reduced, a reduction in blood pressure between 10 and 15 mmHg can be achieved.