On the occasion of “World Hypertension Day” on May 17th, 2014, RAK Hospital will be conducting “Free Health Check-ups” to raise awareness on the factors contributing to high blood pressure and encourage members of the public to undergo screenings for early diagnose of hypertension. The initiative will enhance the patient/physician interface, and help uncontrolled and high-risk patients to visualize the risk, understand risk factors, and call for action on lifestyle modification and adherence levels. It’s a major concern as to how the condition goes undetected for years due to lack of visible symptoms and how effective intervention could help control and even prevent the disease. It will also highlight the preventable stroke; heart and kidney diseases caused by high blood pressure and communicate to the public information on prevention, detection and treatment.
“People suffering from high blood pressure are three times more likely to develop heart failure. Hypertension, the silent killer, is rampant but can easily be tackled with greater awareness and early intervention. It is the largest risk factor for heart diseases, stroke and kidney diseases and the top cause of deaths related to cardiovascular disease. However, awareness about hypertension is very poor among the public. This chronic disease can be easily measured and successfully treated, yet nearly 70% of people who have high blood pressure do not have it under control. In its fight against this serious condition, RAK Hospital pledges to increase awareness and encourage people to come forward and get checked while communicating the implications which can be life threatening”, said, Dr. Mukesh Nathani, Senior Specialist, Cardiology at RAK Hospital, Ras Al Khaimah.
“1in 3 people globally is affected by hypertension and it is the cause of approximately 9.4 million deaths annually worldwide. Cardiovascular disease is a major concern countrywide. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 41 per cent of the UAE population aged 30 years and older has high blood pressure significantly higher than the global average of 25 to 30 per cent. This is expected to double to 50 to 60 per cent by 2025. UAE-based experts have found that more than 80 per cent of patients with hypertension do not achieve the target blood pressure (140/90), despite taking prescribed medication. The findings indicate that patients require more regular review and medication adjustment. The goal of hypertension treatment is to lower high blood pressure and protect important organs, like the brain, heart and kidneys from damage. Treatment for hypertension has been associated with reductions in stroke (reduced an average of 35%-40%), heart attack (20%-25%), and heart failure (more than 50%), according to research”, added Dr. Nathani.
To prevent high blood pressure, everyone should be encouraged to make lifestyle modifications, such as eating a healthier diet, quitting smoking and getting more exercise. Treatment with medication is recommended to lower blood pressure to less than 140/90 in people younger than 60, and less than 150/90 in people older than 60.
Lifestyle Changes to Treat High Blood Pressure: A critical step in preventing and treating high blood pressure is a healthy lifestyle. You can lower your blood pressure with the following lifestyle changes:
• Losing weight if you are overweight or obese.
• Quitting smoking.
• Eating a healthy diet, including the DASH diet – DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that’s designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure. The DASH diet encourages you to reduce the sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. A plant-focused diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, with low-fat and non-fat dairy, lean meats, fish, and poultry, mostly whole grains, and heart healthy fats.
• Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet to less than 1,500 milligrams a day if you have high blood pressure. Healthy adults should try to limit their sodium intake to no more 2,300 milligrams a day (about 1 teaspoon of salt).
• Getting regular exercise (such as brisk walking at least 30 minutes a day, several days a week). Exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day can help bring down your blood pressure numbers by 4 to 9 mmHg. If you’ve been inactive for a while, talk to your doctor about a safe exercise routine. Start out slowly by walking or riding a bicycle.
• Limiting alcohol intake
High Blood Pressure Complications: The excessive pressure on your artery walls caused by high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels, as well as organs in your body. The higher your blood pressure and the longer it goes uncontrolled, the greater the damage. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to:
• Heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure can cause hardening and thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other complications.
• Aneurysm. Increased blood pressure can cause your blood vessels to weaken and bulge, forming an aneurysm. If an aneurysm ruptures, it can be life-threatening.
• Heart failure. To pump blood against the higher pressure in your vessels, your heart muscle thickens. Eventually, the thickened muscle may have a hard time pumping enough blood to meet your body’s needs, which can lead to heart failure.
• Weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys. This can prevent these organs from functioning normally.
• Thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes. This can result in vision loss.
• Metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is a cluster of disorders of your body’s metabolism, including increased waist circumference; high triglycerides; low high-density lipoprotein (HDL); or “good,” cholesterol; high blood pressure; and high insulin levels.If you have high blood pressure, you’re more likely to have other components of metabolic syndrome. The more components you have, the greater your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
• Trouble with memory or understanding. Uncontrolled high blood pressure may also affect your ability to think, remember and learn. Trouble with memory or understanding concepts is more common in people with high blood pressure.
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