Will donating blood temporarily lower blood pressure

Detect and treat high blood pressure

Status: 03/08/2021 12:57 p.m.

Chronic high blood pressure hardly causes any symptoms, but increases the risk of life-threatening cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle has a significant impact on blood pressure.

In high blood pressure (arterial hypertension), the pressure in the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the organs is chronically increased. The disease is very common in industrialized countries, and Germany is even at the top in Europe. More than every fourth person in Germany suffers from arterial hypertension, i.e. has a permanent blood pressure of at least 140: 90 mmHg - and according to recent studies, almost five percent of students are affected.

Even if chronic high blood pressure hardly causes noticeable symptoms, it harbors dangers: After smoking, it is the greatest risk factor for life-shortening cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure damages the blood vessels.

The cause is usually the modern lifestyle

An underlying disease is rarely responsible for the increased blood pressure: Secondary hypertension is when the blood pressure rises, for example as a result of diseases of the kidneys or blood vessels (such as congenital malformations of the main artery) or the so-called sleep apnea syndrome.

In nine out of ten cases, the cause of high blood pressure is our modern lifestyle. Arterial hypertension is one of the most important diseases of civilization. Obesity, lack of exercise, alcohol, smoking, and heavy consumption of table salt all have a negative effect. But also professional or private stress: as early as 1950, the psychoanalyst Franz Alexander identified high blood pressure as one of the seven classic psychosomatic diseases.

Genes also play a role, the tendency to high blood pressure is inherited. A research project at the University of Münster showed that around a third of people are particularly sensitive to table salt: They are salt-sensitive - for them, a daily intake of more than 5 grams leads to high blood pressure and damage to the heart, kidneys and blood vessels. Worldwide, the average daily salt consumption is between 7 and 15 grams.

Hormones are another factor: taking the "pill" can cause blood pressure to rise, and every tenth woman has temporary high blood pressure during pregnancy. It is not uncommon for high blood pressure to appear after the menopause: In old age, more women than men are affected, in younger years it is the other way round.

Symptoms of high blood pressure

High blood pressure often goes unnoticed for a long time because there are - at least initially - no typical symptoms. Many are therefore only diagnosed when irreparable consequential damage has already occurred in the body: coronary heart disease, heart failure, in the worst case even heart attack, stroke or kidney failure. Signs of high blood pressure can include:

  • Morning headache which decreases when the head is raised
  • Dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ears
  • Nosebleeds
  • Exhaustion
  • Insomnia.

If the blood pressure is very high, chest pain (angina pectoris), shortness of breath and visual disturbances may occur.

Diagnosis: single blood pressure measurement is not enough

A blood pressure of 140: 90 mm / Hg - if you have this or even higher values, you should definitely do something for your health.

Optimally, the blood pressure should be 120: 80 mm / Hg or below. Values ​​just above are considered normal. Only from 140: 90 does one speak of mild high blood pressure. Values ​​from 160: 100 are considered to be medium, from 180: 110 to severe hypertension. If the doctor finds values ​​that are too high in three measurements on two different days, he will go in search of a possible underlying disease. If that can be ruled out, the diagnosis is: primary (essential) hypertension.

The doctor then determines the patient's cardiovascular risk by asking about the living conditions and having blood and urine examined. In order to detect possible retinal damage, he will arrange for a reflection of the fundus. An EKG and an ultrasound of the heart provide information about possible consequential damage to the heart.

Salt sensitivity can now be measured

A possible salt sensitivity can now be proven within an hour with a simple so-called salt blood test. It is necessary to take some capillary blood in the practice. The test costs around 20 euros.

Therapy for high blood pressure: change habits!

Anyone who suffers from high blood pressure will have to change their usual lifestyle forever - as soon as possible. Proper nutrition and exercise come first. In addition, there must be an end to cigarettes.

Learn to check your blood pressure regularly at home. Attending a heart school or enrolling in a heart sports group can help to change lifestyle positively together with others. The nutritional medical practices also offer comprehensive support.

Change of diet as the first pillar of therapy

Improper diet is a major cause of high blood pressure. Being overweight increases the risk of cardiovascular problems. For every 10 kilograms of weight loss, the blood pressure drops by about 12: 8 mmHg - especially the belly fat has to go. A healthy diet includes sufficient vegetables, fruit and fish, and less table salt. It is better to switch from juices or soft drinks to water and herbal teas, and drink little alcohol.

Exercise the blood vessels with regular exercise

For cardiovascular health, at least 30 minutes of endurance sport four to five times a week, preferably in the fresh air - such as swimming, running, hiking. Exercise helps reduce stress. Relaxation exercises such as autogenic training, breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation are also useful.

Drug therapy as a supplement

Medicines that lower blood pressure are only indicated if all measures are insufficient. There are different ones, such as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, AT1 antagonists, diuretics and calcium antagonists. The right choice is determined individually according to age and concomitant diseases.

Further treatment approaches

The effect of regular bloodletting has been proven by the Berlin Charité: In test subjects who went to donate blood four times a year, the values ​​fell very markedly - the systolic value by an average of 16 mmHg, the diastolic value by 7 mmHg.

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The Movement Docs | 03/15/2021 | 9:00 p.m.