World Hypertension Day, 17th May 2018
World Hypertension Day (WHD) was first inaugurated in May 2005 and is celebrated annually on 17th May. The purpose of this event is to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage the prevention and control of hypertension, often referred to as a ‘silent killer’.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in the arteries (vessels that carry your blood from your heart to your brain and the rest of your body). The pressure in the arteries is highest when your heart is contracting and pumping blood around your body and lowest when it relaxes it fills with blood before pumping again.
What is high blood pressure (Hypertension)?
You are said to have hypertension when your blood pressure that is consistently higher than the recommended level. Often, it is not something that you feel or notice, but over time if not treated, can cause serious illness.Severe hypertension does, however, show some symptoms of headaches, sleepiness, palpitation, blurred vision, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, ringing sensation in the ears, breathing difficulty and irregular heartbeat which may lead to even coma. Hypertension is a major cause of many health conditions including strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease.
You are at increased risk of hypertension if:
- are over the age of 65
- are overweight or obese
- are of African or Caribbean descent
- have a relative with high blood pressure
- have an unhealthy lifestyle
You can reduce the risk of developing hypertension by :
- reducing the amount of salt you eat
- consuming a healthy diet (high in fruit , veggies and whole grain foods; avoid red meat and processed foods)
- limiting alcohol and caffeine intake
- losing weight if you are overweight
- exercising regularly
- stopping smoking
- trying to reduce stress
- trying to get at least 6 hours of sleep a night
- getting your blood pressure checked at least every five years as part of your regular health check