High blood pressure (hypertension)

Blood pressure increases when the pumping power of the heart increases or if the blood vessels constrict.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease of the cardiovascular system. Increased blood pressure is widespread, particularly in industrialized nations.
The risk of hypertension increases with age. However high blood pressure can also occur in young people. Hypertension can also be caused by hormonally by adrenaline and noradrenaline, but also by kidney disease or medication.

However, in 95% of cases, hypertension has no underlying organic causes. Physical inactivity, obesity, excessive alcohol or salt consumption and stress are the most common causes for high blood pressure.

Initially, hypertension does not result in any complaints. Those affected often do not even notice it. Over half of those affected do not know that they are part of the patient group. This is dangerous because permanently high blood pressure, the risk of damage to vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes increases. Myocardial infarction, heart failure (cardiac insufficiency), stroke, kidney weakness and loss of vision are some of the possible consequences.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) recognises three levels of hypertension:

 Level 1
 mild hypertension 

systolic blood pressure 140 - 159 mmHg
and /or
diastolic blood pressure 90 - 99 mmHg 

 Level 2
 medium-severe hypertension 

systolic blood pressure 160 - 179 mmHg
and / or
diastolic blood pressure 100 - 109 mmHg

 Level 3
 severe hypertension 

systolic blood pressure 180 mmHg or higher
and / or
diastolic blood pressure 110 mmHg or higher 

Hypotension (low blood pressure) is used by the WHO to refer to a blood pressure of less than 100/70 mmHg.