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World Hypertension Day– “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer
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World Hypertension Day– “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”

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Highlights:
  • World Hypertension Day is observed globally on 17th May every year to create awareness about hypertension and its preventive measures to the general public
  • As the COVID-19 pandemic takes a toll on health, keeping a check on your blood pressure (BP) becomes mandatory
  • The theme for 2021 is “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer” which focuses on combating low awareness rates worldwide and accurate blood pressure measurement methods

World Hypertension Day (WHD) is an international day that strives to educate people across the world about hypertension every year on 17th May, organized by the World Hypertension League (WHL).

The WHL organization is composed of 85 hypertension societies and leagues from all over the world. More than one billion people around the world live with hypertension (high blood pressure). It is the leading risk factor for premature death due to serious complications like atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.

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World Hypertension Day– “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”

Two-thirds of cases burden of hypertension is felt disproportionately in low- and middle-income countries, largely due to increased risk factors in those populations in recent decades.

What is Hypertension?

The pressure exerted by the blood vessels when the heart pumps blood around the body is called blood pressure. When the force exerted on the arteries is unusually higher, it is referred to as hypertension.

The blood pressure is measured by a sphygmomanometer or blood pressure monitor. The normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg and values higher than 130/80 mmHg are considered to be hypertension as per the guidelines issued by the American Heart Association (AHA), 2017.
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It usually accompanies no signs or symptoms unless it causes serious damages to other organs. Symptoms like sweating, anxiety, sleeping problems, headaches, and nosebleeds can accompany in certain cases.

Due to its serious complications on the brain and heart, it was named as the number one killer by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2002, World Health Report. Every year, more than 10 million lives are lost due to this killer disease. However, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, including lifestyle change, greatly contribute to the prevention of hypertension.

History of World Hypertension Day (WHD)

The World Hypertension League - an affiliate of the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) initiated the World Hypertension Day in May 2005. Ever since then, it has become an annual event crusading for increasing blood pressure awareness and prevention of related deaths.

The league comprises leading scientists, doctors, and allied health care workers who share a common interest in hypertension research, prevention, and control.

Every year, volunteers all over the world participate in a global awareness campaign - May Measurement Month (MMM), initiated by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) in 2017 to help the people living in villages and towns in measuring & monitoring their blood pressure and counseling them on preventive measures. Since the launch of the MMM initiative, it has benefited almost 2.7 million people.

World Hypertension Day 2021

The 2021 theme for WHD is "Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer" which focuses on combating low awareness rates among the public, especially in low to middle-income areas.

The day also intends to educate people on accurate measurement methods of blood pressure. It is estimated that around half of people living with hypertension are unaware of their condition. This puts them at risk of preventable medical complications and death.

Several organizations like - the World Health Organization, Pan-American Health Organization and Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, mark the day by
  • Hosting events that celebrate the achievements in protecting people's heart health
  • Lancing virtual courses & tools for supporting the measurement and management of blood pressure
  • Sharing experiences across the world in implementing hypertension programs
The WHO and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Hearts Initiative in 2016, intending to reach the global target of reducing the prevalence of hypertension by 25% by 2025.

With its five technical packages -
  1. HEARTS (manage cardiovascular diseases),
  2. MPOWER (control tobacco)
  3. ACTIVE (increase physical activity)
  4. SHAKE (reduce salt consumption) and
  5. REPLACE (eliminate trans-fat)
The initiative aims to improve heart health and treat people worldwide with hypertension in primary health care.

Facts on Hypertension

  • Hypertension increases stroke risk to four times and that of myocardial infarction (heart attack) to two times as compared to the normal blood pressure
  • An unhealthy lifestyle like eating too much salt (sodium), being overweight , and not getting enough exercise, using tobacco can increase the risk of high blood pressure
  • Only 1 in 4 adults with hypertension have their blood pressure under control
  • It is estimated that half of the adults in the U.S do not take medication
  • In India, about 2.6 lakh people die due to hypertension, thereby, becoming the most prevalent chronic disease in the country

Management of blood pressure

The busy schedule of modern with unhealthy lifestyle adds to the suffering from stress and tension leading to hypertension problems. Following proper management may help prevent complications of hypertension.
  • Blood pressure can be regulated through a balanced diet (plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables) and lifestyle. It is advisable to reduce the salt intake in the diet of hypertensive individuals
  • Doing regular walking and physical exercise of at least 150 minutes (moderate aerobic exercise) or 75 minutes (vigorous-intensity exercise) is vital for maintaining blood pressure in hypertensive patients
  • Avoid stress and engage in relaxation techniques such as yoga and deep breathing
  • Stop smoking and reduce alcohol consumption
  • Elude oily and fast foods high in trans fats and saturated fats. Keep a check on your weight
  • Regularly monitor your blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol levels
  • Always take your blood pressure medications as prescribed by the doctor on time
  • Consult your physician for any queries
A simple measure can help fight the most serious complications of this silent killer disease. Hence, let's join hands on this World Hypertension Day to promote the management of hypertension.

References:
  1. World Hypertension Day May 17, 2021 - (https://www.whleague.org/index.php/features/world-hypertension-day)
  2. World Hypertension Day - (https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2020/10/16/default-calendar/world-hypertension-day)
  3. World Hypertension Day - (https://www.paho.org/en/world-hypertension-day)


Source: Medindia

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