World Hypertension Day 17th May 2020

World Hypertension Day 17th May 2020

World Hypertension Day is celebrated annually on 17th May with the aim of educating the public and increase awareness of hypertension. The day is organised by the World Hypertension League (WHL), an umbrella organisation comprising 85 hypertension societies and leagues from all over the world.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is recorded with 2 numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. Both numbers are measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). As a general guide the ideal blood pressure reading is usually between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.

What is Hypertension?

You are said to have hypertension when your blood pressure is consistently higher than the recommended level (140/90mmHg or more). Often, you may not feel or notice anything abnormal; however, over time, if untreated, hypertension can cause serious health conditions including strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease.

Some symptoms of hypertension include headaches, sleepiness, palpitation, blurred vision, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, ringing sensation in the ears, breathing difficulty and irregular heartbeat which may lead to even coma.

The theme for World Hypertension Day 2020 is ‘Know Your Numbers’

The only way of knowing whether you have high blood pressure is to have a blood pressure test. Getting this done is easy and could save your life. You can get your blood pressure tested at a local pharmacy or GP clinic; or at home yourself with a home blood pressure monitor.

Who Is at risk of high blood pressure

In most cases, it’s not clear exactly what causes high blood pressure (hypertension). Factors that can raise your risk of developing high blood pressure include:

  • are over the age of 65
  • a family history of high blood pressure
  • being of African or Caribbean descent
  • excess salt in your food 
  • lack of exercise
  • being overweight
  • regularly excessive consumption of alcohol
  • smoking
  • long-term sleep deprivation
  • In about 1 in 20 cases, high blood pressure happens as the result of an underlying health condition or taking a certain medicine.

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

More information about World Hypertension Day can be found at www.whleague.org