Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Guard Against Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is quite frequently referred to as the silent killer.  Sadly, many of us will not realize that we are hypertensive until it is too late.
Each year on May 17, the global community pauses to reflect and commemorate World Hypertension Day (WHD). The first World Hypertension (WHD) was held in 2005. It is estimated that about 70 million Americans adults have high blood pressure.  According to The Jamaican Hypertension Prevalence Study, the island has a point prevalence of hypertension of 30.8% in the 15 and over age group.  It is estimated that nearly a third of all Americans adults have prehypertension which is a condition in which one’s blood pressure numbers are higher than normal, but not in the high blood pressure range.
The theme for WHD 2016 is “Know Your Numbers”. We must all be reminded that it is only by getting ourselves checked that we will know our blood pressure.  Blood pressure is measured using two numbers-systolic and diastolic pressure. The upper number is the Systolic while the Diastolic is the lower number.
Hypertension is a contributing factor in a significant number of deaths annually and we must become more proactive to change this narrative or else, we too will become a statistic.
Diseases such as heart attack, strokes, kidney diseases and erectile dysfunction are associated with high blood pressure.
The health care toll on a country can be overwhelming to treat all those who require medical and health care services. It is estimated that at least $46 billion is spent annually in the USA on health care costs. This cost is further broken down in terms of hospitalization, loss productivity, visits to doctors, medications and health care services.  
Men and women have different needs regarding health care. It is clear from a cultural perspective that many men have a fear of going to the doctor; however, it is time as men we let go of this and get checked. What you do not know can kill you!  There is no such thing as a macho dead man.  Men need to realize that masculinity is not static, but rather a fluid construct.
There are some simple things we can all do to reduce our risks of becoming hypertensive. We need to engage in more physical activity, especially since many of us have live a sedentary lifestyle. Invest in your health, get a skipping rope, or walk around your block where you live, get moving. We also need to maintain a healthy body weight and watch the amount of salt we take into our bodies.
Let us all collaborate in raising the awareness regarding the risks associated with hypertension and our health on this World Hypertension Day. 
#hypertension #physicalactivity #lifestyle  
Wayne Campbell