Under the theme: Healthy Blood Pressure – Healthy Heart Beat, World Hypertension Day will be celebrated on Friday, May 17.

A statement released by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), explained that Hypertension is now recognised as a global epidemic causing more than nine million dollars each year.?? It is also the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the Caribbean and the Americas, with one in every three adults affected.

This reinforces the point that having sustained high blood pressure could cause damage to heart muscles, and in time, lead to an abnormal heart beat and a weakened heart.??????

In this regard, this year’s theme aptly fits with plans by PAHO/ World Health Organisation (WHO) to focus attention on hypertension throughout the year, and build on the World Health Day’s theme (April 7) of Hypertension – Know your Numbers.

In the report, Hypertension is listed as being a major contributor to heart disease and strokes; two of the main causes of illness and death in this region.?? Additionally, worldwide and locally, it is estimated that up to one third of all persons with hypertension do not achieve good blood pressure control.?? This is so even with availability of effective treatment options, including a wide range of medicines which may be used for controlling the disease.

According to PAHO, "This prevalence of inadequate blood control reinforces the decision by the WHO and other members of international public health arena to focus global attention on the actions that must be taken to address the growing problem of hypertension…However, affected and at-risk individuals cannot address this problem alone.?? An effective response will only be accomplished in the context of a supportive environment."

The publication further states that action is needed from opinion leaders, policy makers and other members of civil society, with the aim of bringing about appropriate adaptations to health care systems and the wider social environment to support high blood pressure prevention and care.

Individuals may prevent and control hypertension by getting your blood pressure checked; adopting a healthy life style – exercising, eating healthily and limiting alcohol and taking prescribed medicines.????????????????

To this end, the PAHO/WHO Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean urges all adults to "check your blood pressure and care for your heart!"?? The commemoration of World Hypertension Day is an initiative of the World Hypertension League, a division of the International Society of Hypertension.??


Author: Theresa Blackman/PAHO

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