High blood pressure increases the risk of a heart attack, a brain haemorrhage and atrial fibrillation. “Knowing what’s up with your blood pressure can potentially prevent major problems,” says Prof. Luc Jordaens, affiliated with Erasmus MC.
When is blood pressure too high?
“The World Health Organization has developed a guideline for this. This guideline takes into account the ‘white coat effect’. At the doctor’s office, your blood pressure is always slightly higher. There, a blood pressure of 140/90 counts as the limit. If you measure your blood pressure at home, in a resting state and without experiencing stress, then 135/85 is the limit value.”
Can you measure your blood pressure at home as well as the doctor does?
“GPs use a cuff blood pressure gauge that goes around the arm. For a home situation, there are several automatic blood pressure monitors. Sit quietly, wait a moment and only then measure your blood pressure. If you always measure your blood pressure at the same time of the day, you will have a good picture. When in doubt, take three measurements in a row with a while of rest between them. Then you divide the outcome by three. That gives a good average.”
What exactly does a blood pressure monitor measure?
“It’s about the upper and the lower pressure. These are the two things that indicate whether the blood pressure is too high, which results in an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and other conditions.”
The fact that you check your blood pressure can really contribute to maintaining your health
Suppose that you measure a high value for a few days. What should you do then?
“Then you call the doctor for an appointment. The doctor will discuss with you what your findings are and whether there have been emotional or stressful situations. After all, they can also have an effect on your blood pressure.
If research shows that you really have high blood pressure, the doctor, whether or not in consultation with the cardiologist, can take measures to lower your blood pressure. Further research can also be done. The fact that you check your blood pressure can really contribute to maintaining your health.”
Does it make sense to measure your blood pressure if you suffer from dizziness or fainting?
“If you have these complaints, it is wise to contact your doctor. With a continuous blood pressure measurement with a finger cuff such as Finapres, the trend lines can be followed because blood pressure is generated every heartbeat. This can also be useful in case of overdose of medicines or in case of a decrease in blood pressure when standing up.