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General information on blood pressure and measurement.

What is blood pressure?

The measurement of blood pressure is one of the most important tools in the repertoire of GPs. But it is also extremely important for patients at home to check their own measurements regularly. Not only when they are taking medicine. In particular for older people and people who are health-conscious, measuring your own blood pressure daily should be a matter of course. This is because it allows early recognition of changes that suggest a deterioration of vital functions or an illness.

The blood vessels of the body form a widely interlinked, flexible system through which all the blood in the body flows. Blood is pumped into the circulation of the body by the heart, thereby providing all organs with blood rich in oxygen and nutrients.

The blood pressure is the arterial pressure measured in the vessels and chambers of the heart. The measurement of the blood pressure therefore gives information about the pressure in the arterial circulation and is therefore one of the most important diagnostic tools in the repertoire of GPs. The blood pressure is thus dependent on the performance of the heart and the resistance of the vessels. It is measured in mmHg (mm of mercury column). Two values must be calculated here: The systolic (upper) blood pressure is created when the heart contracts and the blood is pressed into the blood vessels. The diastolic (lower) blood pressure is created when the heart muscle is extended and refilling itself with blood.

The WHO has laid down the following guideline levels to assess the blood pressure, applicable for people of all ages: