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World Hypertension Day
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World Hypertension Day

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Highlights:
  • Every year, World Hypertension Day is observed on 17th May
  • Hypertension is curable with proper medication, dietary changes and lifestyle modifications.

World Hypertension Day is observed on 17th May every year by the World Hypertension League (WHL) in association with the International Society of Hypertension (ISH). The Theme for World Hypertension Day 2018 is "Know your Numbers," with the main goal to create awareness of hypertension (high blood pressure), its symptoms, complications and preventive measures to the community.

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension is also known as high or elevated blood pressure. According to World Health Organization, Hypertension is a condition in which the blood vessels have continuously raised pressure. Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body.

Every individual has blood pressure which is necessary to move blood through the arteries and provide oxygen to the tissues in the body. Blood pressure is caused by the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries due to the contraction of the heart. Blood pressure is generally measured using an instrument known as a sphygmomanometer.

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World Hypertension Day

Blood pressure is measured in terms of systolic pressure (upper value), i.e. when the heart beats while pumping the blood, and diastolic pressure (lower value), i.e. when the heart is at rest between beats.

Facts and Statistics on Hypertension

  • Globally, at least 1.13 billion adults are suffering from high blood pressure
  • Worldwide, around 10.3 million people die due to hypertension every year
  • High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death
  • Nearly 75 million American adults have hypertension
  • About one in three American adults has pre-hypertension
  • In India, nearly 33-40% of the urban population and 12-17% of the rural population are affected by hypertension.

Types of Hypertension

  Hypertension can be divided into;
  • Primary Hypertension which is caused by no underlying medical cause.
  • Secondary Hypertension is caused by certain conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, endocrine disorders and so on.
Blood Pressure Chart


Blood Pressure Category

Systolic

mm Hg

Diastolic

mm Hg

Normal

Less than 120

Less than 80

Prehypertension

120-139

80-89

Mild Hypertension

140-159

90-99

Moderate Hypertension

160 or higher

100 or higher

Severe Hypertension

Above 200

Above 200

Risk Factors of Hypertension

The factors which increase the risk of hypertension are:
  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Heredity
  • Improper diet
  • Salt sensitivity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Disease conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, renal diseases.

What are the Symptoms of Hypertension?

  Many individuals with hypertension may not have symptoms whereas few show symptoms such as:
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain over the heart
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances.

Healthy Ways to Treat and Prevent Hypertension

  Hypertension can be treated or prevented with certain healthy lifestyle modifications like
  • Proper medications
  • Eating a healthy diet which has low calories, low fat, low sodium
  • Regular physical activity (at least three to four times a week for 40 minutes)
  • Quit smoking and alcohol consumption.
Consuming a healthy diet plays a key role to combat hypertension. A well-known saying by Thomas A. Edison, "The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition."

Importance of DASH Diet

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet can be a healthy way to lower the risk of hypertension. DASH eating plan lowers the salt content from 2.3 gm per day to 1.5gm, thereby decreasing the levels of high blood pressure. The guidelines for DASH diet are given below.


Food groups

DASH (servings)

Cereals and grains

7-8

Fruits

4-5

Vegetables

4-5

Milk (low-fat)

2-3

Meat (lean meats, poultry& fish)

2 or less

Nuts, seeds and legumes

4-5 per week

Fats and sweets

Limited

Therefore, let us fight against hypertension which is a "silent killer" with proper medication, dietary changes and lifestyle modifications. It is necessary to monitor blood pressure regularly for adults.

References :
  1. Hypertension - (http://www.who.int/topics/hypertension/en/)
  2. What Is the DASH Diet? - (http://dashdiet.org/what_is_the_dash_diet.asp)
  3. High Blood Pressure & Kidney Disease - (https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/high-blood-pressure)
  4. High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet - (https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_bloodpressure.htm)


Source: Medindia

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