Sunday 17th May – World Hypertension Day

high blood pressure

high blood pressureI know many of you are wondering “What is Hypertension?” You know that you should know what it means, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

Quite simply, Hypertension is High Blood Pressure. It’s a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated.

That’s the simple part of it; the complicated part is just how dangerous and risky this condition can be, when sustained over time.

Heart diseases – including congestive heart failure, artery diseases – such as Atherosclerosis (the thickening of the artery wall), strokes, aneurysms, and chronic kidney disease are just some of the complications that may arise with long-term hypertension.

It’s also classed into two different groups: Primary (no clear or obvious underlying cause) and Secondary (defined underlying cause such as endocrine disorders, kidney disease, or narrowing of the arteries).

About 90-95% of all hypertension cases are Primary in nature and only the remaining 5-10% will be categorized as Secondary.

But there is good news; dietary and lifestyle changes can improve blood pressure control and decrease the risk of health complications in many cases of hypertension. In some cases though, where lifestyle changes are not effective, treatment with medication will often still be necessary.

Hypertension doesn’t necessarily have any accompanying symptoms, and that is why screening is extremely important. It’s as simple as having your blood pressure taken.

And you can have that done at any doctor’s office, clinics, many pharmacies, or even at home by investing in a home Blood Pressure monitor.

World Hypertension Day was created by the World Hypertension League in 2005. The day is intended to increase awareness of the condition and issues surrounding it. There is a perceived lack of awareness about hypertension amongst the general public and the WHL hope to change this.

Awareness of hypertension is considered to be vitally important, due to the number of deaths linked with associated heart attacks, kidney disease and strokes.

An estimated 11 million South Africans live with hypertension, and what is even worse is that 3 out of 4 people don’t even know that they suffer from hypertension.

The day generally takes on a specific theme. For example, in the past, one of the themes was ‘Healthy diet, healthy blood pressure’, which aimed to improve people’s understanding of how poor diets can contribute towards high blood pressure and how a more healthy diet can help to rectify the problem.

This year the theme will be ‘Know Your Numbers’ a theme that has been chosen for the 5-year period of 2013-2018.

So join in, test your blood pressure, learn about hypertension and stay healthy.


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