May 17 is the World Hypertension Day, a day intended to bring awareness about the disease and its consequences for the world population.
It is estimated that 4 in 10 adults globally suffer from hypertension. Raising awareness to the disease is important to put the spotlight in the preventive measures that can be taken to lower these numbers.
Health Abroad will dedicate the whole month of May to the topic of hypertension. We will share information and tips to deal with hypertension. To start, we are answering 3 common questions about hypertension.
1.What is hypertension?
According to the World Health Organization, hypertension is:
“(…) a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure, putting them under increased stress. Each time the heart beats; it pumps blood into the vessels, which carry the blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart has to pump.”
2. What are the symptoms of hypertension?
Hypertension is called a “silent disease” because most people who suffer from it show little or no symptoms at all. Most of the symptoms of hypertension can be misleading as they are quite general. They can be:
“(…) headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, palpitations of the heart and nose bleeds (…)”, according to the World Health Organization.
3. If there are no symptoms how can hypertension be detected?
Adults should check their blood pressure regularly in order to detect changes in values that might be alarming for their health. If the blood pressure is high, preventive measures should be taken in order to control the values and avoid further increases. When high values of blood pressure are detected some measures can be taken to lower them:
- Quit smoking
- Eat healthy (eat fruits and vegetables on a daily basis for example)
- Practice regular exercise
- Avoid alcohol consumption
- Reduce salt intake
When these measures aren’t enough to lower blood pressure, medication can be the solution to control hypertension.
Hypertension can cause several health conditions that can ultimately lead to death. In the next post we will discuss more about what causes hypertension and what are the consequences.