World Hypertension Day is observed annually on May 17th to raise awareness about the importance of hypertension prevention, detection, and control. It serves as a global platform to increase awareness about hypertension and its associated risks. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects millions of individuals worldwide and is a major contributor to heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular complications. Today, it aims to empower individuals to take charge of their cardiovascular health, educate our communities about the importance of blood pressure monitoring, and promote preventive measures to reduce the burden of hypertension-related diseases.
As part of the 2023 campaign, “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, and Live Longer,” This theme emphasizes the significance of accurate blood pressure measurement, effective control, and the potential for a longer and healthier life.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common health condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it typically does not have any noticeable symptoms. However, if left untreated, it can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and other organ damage.
Maintaining optimal blood pressure is crucial for our overall well-being and longevity. ‘Blood pressure is a measure of the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps it throughout the body’. Accurate measurement, regular monitoring, and effective control of blood pressure play a vital role in preventing serious health complications. In this article, we will explore the importance of accurately measuring blood pressure, controlling it, and the health benefits associated with maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
To accurately measure your blood pressure, it is recommended that you use a reliable blood pressure monitor, such as a digital blood pressure monitor. It is also important to measure your blood pressure under the right conditions. You should be in a quiet and relaxed environment, avoid smoking or drinking coffee or alcohol, and sit with your feet flat on the floor and your arm at heart level.
Measuring your blood pressure accurately is the first step toward treating hypertension. Blood pressure is measured in two numbers: the systolic pressure (top number) and the diastolic pressure (bottom number), measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Normal blood pressure is generally considered to be around 120/80 mmHg, and high blood pressure is usually defined as a reading of 130/80 mmHg or higher.
Controlling your blood pressure is the next step toward maintaining good health. Lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and quitting smoking can help lower your blood pressure. If these lifestyle changes are not enough to control your blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medication to help bring it down. It is important to take your medication as prescribed and to follow up with your doctor regularly to ensure that your blood pressure is under control.
Living longer is one of the many health benefits of controlling your blood pressure. Lowering your blood pressure can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease, which are some of the leading causes of death worldwide. Additionally, maintaining a healthy blood pressure can help improve your overall quality of life. You may feel more energetic, have better sleep, and be able to perform your daily activities with more ease.
Friends remembered that maintaining optimal blood pressure levels is essential to preventing the onset and progression of various health conditions. Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to serious complications, including:
High blood pressure, when unmanaged, puts strain on the heart and arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular disorders.
Elevated blood pressure can damage one’s kidneys over time, leading to chronic kidney disease or kidney failure. So make sure your blood pressure is within range.
Hypertension can affect the blood vessels in the eyes, potentially causing vision impairment or even blindness. It can lead to eye problems.
Research suggests that untreated hypertension may contribute to cognitive decline and an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
High blood pressure during pregnancy, known as gestational hypertension, can have adverse effects on both the mother and the baby. So make your health a priority.
Health Benefits of Maintaining Healthy Blood Pressure Levels:
It helps reduce one’s chances of developing cardiovascular-related disease. By keeping your blood pressure within the recommended range, we significantly lower our risk of developing heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, among other complications.
When we maintain optimal blood pressure, it will help our kidneys function properly, prevent avoidable health complications, and reduce the risk of developing cases such as chronic kidney disease.
Healthy blood pressure levels contribute to better brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. That is, maintaining normal blood pressure enhances brain health.
It helps improve eye health. When you have your blood pressure under control, it helps protect the delicate blood vessels in the eyes, reducing the risk of vision problems. So you can see why you must measure your blood pressure, among others.
For our women in the house, maintaining normal blood pressure within a safe range during pregnancy ensures the well-being of both the mother and the developing baby. So, get registered for antenatal care and make sure you don’t miss your antenatal days.
Key Messages and Recommendations:
Get Educated! Learn about hypertension, its risk factors, and the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring. Understand the proper techniques for accurate measurement.
Measure your blood pressure regularly by using a reliable blood pressure monitor. Follow the correct measurement techniques, such as sitting quietly for a few minutes before taking the measurement.
Adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit sodium intake, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, quit smoking, and engage in regular physical activity.
Learn to manage stress. Practice stress-management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and engaging in hobbies to reduce stress levels. This may go a long way toward maintaining your blood pressure.
The key is medication compliance. If you are prescribed blood pressure medication, take it as directed by your doctor or healthcare provider. Adhere to the recommended dosage and attend follow-up appointments to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.
Seek medical advice! Consult with your doctor or healthcare provider for guidance on blood pressure management, individualized treatment plans, and lifestyle modifications.
By managing our blood pressure effectively and following our doctor’s recommendations, we can significantly reduce the risk of serious health complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and cognitive decline. Prioritizing our blood pressure management through lifestyle modifications and, if necessary, medical intervention can contribute to a longer, healthier life.
At the Rays of Hope Support Initiative (ROHSI), we are saying that, for accurate blood pressure, we must not just measure it but make sure that we put the blood pressure in a healthy range, seek medical advice, adhere to our medication, and follow any health tips given by our healthcare provider. Remember that regular monitoring of our blood pressure is crucial to our long-term health and well-being.
Courtesy: Rays of Hope Support Initiative (ROHSI) Board and Management Team