High blood pressure or hypertension

High blood pressure is not a disease. Sometimes you don’t even notice that you have high blood pressure, so if in doubt it doesn’t hurt to have your blood pressure checked by your doctor. High blood pressure without a clearly identifiable cause is very disturbing. Why is high blood pressure dangerous and what can you do about it?

High blood pressure is more common than you think

Over the course of your life, blood pressure often rises slightly, even slightly more in women than in men. This is due to the menopause. Before menopause, the female sex hormone estrogen has a good influence on blood pressure. The upper pressure is slightly more than the negative pressure. Normal blood pressure is a negative pressure of around 80 and a systolic pressure of around 120 at rest. When the negative pressure exceeds 90 or the systolic pressure exceeds 140, we speak of high blood pressure. In people aged almost 80 years and older, a blood pressure of 160 mm Hg is usually considered acceptable. Twelve percent of Dutch people have high blood pressure.

Complaints of high blood pressure

High blood pressure can cause various complaints. Some people don’t notice it at all, others suffer from headaches, dizziness, fatigue, hot flashes, fluid retention and inability to urinate properly. These complaints are quite similar to menopausal complaints, so for women going through menopause an extra reason to have their blood pressure measured if in doubt.

Risks of high blood pressure

The main risks of elevated blood pressure are myocardial infarction and stroke. Serious enough to pay attention to this. Other risks include kidney problems and bleeding in the eye (retinopathy).

What can you do about high blood pressure?

  • Quit smoking. Smoking greatly increases the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Lose weight, because being overweight also puts you at risk of high blood pressure.
  • Do not eat licorice, because this also increases blood pressure.
  • To play sports. More exercise has a beneficial effect on blood pressure, and more exercise also increases the chance of successful weight loss. To burn one pound of body fat you need to burn 8,000 calories. That’s 11 hours of running, 32 hours of fitness, 13 hours of cycling and 27 hours of walking.
  • Relaxed. A stressful, busy life also increases the risk of high blood pressure. Try to take some rest moments every day. A warm bath, listening to music, yoga exercises, reading a relaxing book. Anything that relaxes you is good.
  • Moderate with alcohol. More than 2 glasses of alcohol per day is too much. Try to stick to this for good health.
  • Diet. If your blood pressure is too high, it is wise to consume little salt. It is also not unwise to consume a lot of vegetables. A diet low in sodium and high in potassium is good for blood pressure. Potassium is found in vegetables, potatoes, bread, dairy products and meat. Do not use too much water for cooking because the potassium will be lost.



If you have high blood pressure, the doctor will prescribe medication. These can be briefly divided into the following categories:

  • diuretics, which provide less fluid in the blood and therefore less pressure on the veins
  • Beta blockers, which cause the heart to pump less quickly
  • ACE inhibitors and AII blockers, which affect kidney function
  • Calcium channel blockers, they dilate the vessels

After a consultation, the GP determines which drug will have the most favorable effect.

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