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PIA Press Release

Healthy lifestyle prevents, controls hypertension

Tacloban City (May 19) -- This year's World Hypertension Day celebration intends to bring about public awareness of obesity and its effects on hypertension, keeping in mind that more than 1 Billion adults worldwide are overweight and over 300 million of them are obese.

The theme for this year is "Healthy Weight - Healthy Blood Pressure as weight has either direct or indirect effect on heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes.

Being overweight has been strongly linked to hypertension which can lead to health problems such as stroke, heart failure, aneurysm, type 2 diabetes, kidney failure and some forms of cancer. All the said conditions can be fatal.

Weight problem is a growing concern of many people worldwide. It is estimated that 1 billion adults are overweight and 300 million of that population are obese.

Childhood obesity is also growing in number. In fact, globally, one in six children is considered overweight.

Some experts attribute obesity to globalization. The transition from rural areas to urban areas brings great changes in people's lifestyles. Instead of using the muscles at the fields, urbanized individuals work behind the desk. There is less activity and more stress. Many people nowadays live a fast paced life, favouring the convenience of fastfood meals and packaged food that are laden with fats, sugar and sodium.

The objective of the World Hypertension Day is to promote the detection, control and prevention of arterial hypertension in populations. This is the day for education about high blood pressure which is the biggest single cause of death worldwide through strokes, heart attacks and kidney diseases.

Blood pressure (BP) is defined as the "force exerted by blood against artery walls as it circulates through our body." High blood pressure is a common health issue in the Philippines, with about 10 million Filipinos suffering from it.

According to the Department of Health, hypertension is one of the top five leading causes of mortality in the country.

High blood pressure is common among middle-aged (thirty-five years old and more) and elderly. The condition is also more dominant among obese, heavy drinkers, and women taking birth control pills. Individuals suffering from diabetes, gout, or kidney disease are more likely to experience hypertension than those who don't.

Hypertension is the primary and prevalent risk factor that leads to heart disease, stroke and renal diseases. According to the WHO, high blood pressure is highly linked to cardiovascular death. Unlike other diseases, high blood pressure is often asymptomatic. Its lack of symptoms makes hypertension a "silent killer."

Hypertension per se does not kill, but the complications are the ones that disable and kill a hypertensive. People should take action to avoid health complications that can arise from high blood pressure.

There are several doable measures that people can follow to protect themselves from hypertension. The first is for one to be aware of his blood pressure. If one's blood pressure is borderline or elevated, it is best for him to see a doctor for assessment.

One must embrace a healthy lifestyle as this can prevent the development of high blood pressure. If one already has hypertension, healthy living can help control the condition. Healthy lifestyle includes: exercising regularly; maintaining a healthy diet; avoiding stress as much as possible; lessening intake of fatty and salty foods; avoiding too much caffeine, giving up smoking; and keeping alcohol consumption in moderation.

People who are taking medication for hypertension should do so regularly. Regular check-up with the doctor is important to monitor high blood pressure. (PIA 8) [top]

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