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If tablets don't help: microsystem technology against high blood pressure
Around every third adult in Germany suffers from high blood pressure. If hypertension is not treated, the risk of diseases such as stroke or heart attack increases. Patients are usually advised to lower their blood pressure through a healthier lifestyle and / or with medication. But drug therapy does not work for everyone. Experts are now reporting on a new technology that can help those affected.
Every third German suffers from high blood pressure
According to the German Hypertension League (DHL), around 20 to 30 million people in Germany suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension). Although almost every third German citizen is affected, many think that high blood pressure is an “age-related illness”. But this assumption is wrong. Older people in particular fall ill, but younger people are also increasingly affected. Young men in particular often do not know that their blood pressure levels are too high and are less likely to be treated. Untreated hypertension is one of the greatest health risks in the western world. It is the number one risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and is therefore responsible for many deaths from heart attacks or strokes.
Lower blood pressure naturally
Often, those affected are quickly advised to lower blood pressure, but in many cases hypertension can be treated without medication. In addition to regular exercise, a healthy, varied diet with little fat, sugar and salt should be mentioned here. Also of interest are test results that were recently presented at a conference of the "American Heart Association" (AHA) and published in various specialist magazines, such as on "EurekAlert!". Accordingly, natural yogurt relieves hypertension in women. Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, overweight or obesity should also be avoided. In addition, relaxation exercises to relieve stress, such as yoga or autogenic training, can be very effective and positively influence high blood pressure values. Some home remedies for high blood pressure, such as Kneipp treatments, can offer good support.
Medicines do not work in some patients
But for some patients, neither natural measures nor medicines help. "About half of all hypertension patients cannot lower their blood pressure enough despite drug therapy," writes the University Hospital Freiburg in a press release. The permanently stressed body reacts to this with other diseases. According to the university, that should change in the future. As is reported, a product is under development to marketability.
Cuff electrode for nerve stimulation
According to the information, the small electrode that is to be implanted in a patient in the future appears to be the same size as a 1 cent piece and can be wrapped around a pin. This possibility of nerve stimulation was researched at the Albert Ludwig University and the University Clinic Freiburg. In addition, two medical technology companies were involved in the project. According to the announcement, Freiburg researchers Dennis Plachta and Thomas Stieglitz from the Chair of Biomedical Microtechnology at the IMTEK (Institute for Microsystem Technology) had already developed a new cuff electrode for nerve stimulation in 2014 in cooperation with neurosurgeons from the University Medical Center Freiburg. "The stimulation of the vagus nerve with the help of the latest microsystem technology is still in its infancy with regard to the many potential applications, but has enormous potential for the treatment of chronic diseases as an alternative to pharmaceuticals," says the report. As a result, this collaborative project is about manipulating the baroloop, a cycle that regulates blood pressure in the body, among other things. Signals measured by receptors are communicated to the brain via the vagus nerves so that stimulation of the nerve can influence blood pressure.
Pacemaker for high blood pressure
The University Clinic of Regensburg (UKR) also reported last year on a new method for hypertension patients who do not take medication. In the process - called baroreceptor stimulation - the patient uses a stimulator, similar to a pacemaker, in the left side of the chest. This stimulates the baroreceptors - special cells on the carotid artery that regulate blood pressure and circulation. The receptors then pass the signal on to the brain, pretending there to be permanently high blood pressure. The brain reacts by triggering the body's own mechanisms to lower blood pressure. (ad)