Monday, March 10, 2014

Beware Of Harms By Hypertension!

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the most common cardiovascular disease. If it is left untreated, it could lead to not only vision problems and kidney failure but also life threatening events such as stroke and heart attack. In the United States, 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure.

According to the announcement made by The World Health Organizations (WHO) on the eve of World Health Day on April 7, 2013, nearly 1.5 million people died of high blood pressure each year in South-East Asia making it the single-most important risk factor for non-communicable diseases like heart attack and stroke.

What makes high blood pressure dangerous is that it rarely causes any symptoms! Hence it is also called “the silent killer”. In fact, nearly one-third of people who have high blood pressure do not realize it. Certain symptoms still, however, persist if one’s blood pressure is extremely high. These include severe headache, chest pain, vision problems, fatigue, confusion and irregular heartbeat.

Regular checkup is probably the only way that one can tell whether his or her blood pressure is high. Most of the mortality caused by high blood pressure can simply be prevented through healthy lifestyles, early detection and treatment by medications.

Every individual does have the obligation to prevent hypertension by adopting a healthy lifestyle: eat a balanced diet, reduce salt, has regular exercise, avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, quit smoking and check the blood pressure regularly.

Meanwhile, health-promoting environments created by governments are essential as it can help people adopt healthy lifestyle and impose regulations for lowering the amount of salt in packaged food and making healthier foods affordable and accessible.

Remember this, it is cheaper to prevent, detect and treat hypertension than interventions like cardiac bypass surgery or kidney dialysis that may be required if hypertension is not diagnosed and treated in time.

Almost 95 percent of hypertensive patients have so-called essential hypertension in which the underlying causes cannot be determined. While essential hypertension is somehow mysterious, it has been linked to certain risk factors including family history, age, consumption of salt, obesity, diabetes, stress, lack of physical activity, insufficient intake of potassium, calcium and magnesium and chronic alcohol consumption.

The remaining 5 percent of hypertensive cases belong to so-called secondary hypertension in which the cause can be identified. Such causes include kidney disease, tumors, birth control pills and pregnancy.

Hypertension is a serious global issue. That is why in September 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, and committed governments to a series of actions.  Member States have agreed to 9 global targets for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases including lowering the prevalence of hypertension by 25 percent by 2025.

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