World Hypertension Day 2023: Taking Accurate Control of Your Blood Pressure for a Healthier, Longer Life
May 17th, 2023 marks World Hypertension Day, an annual observance aimed at raising awareness about the silent killer known as hypertension or high blood pressure. This year’s theme, “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control it, Live Longer,” couldn’t be more apt.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension is one of the most significant contributors to premature death worldwide. It’s a key risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and stroke, leading to more than 7.5 million deaths each year, or nearly 13% of all deaths globally.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a global health concern affecting nearly a billion people worldwide. It occurs when the force of blood against your artery walls is consistently too high, a condition that can lead to various health complications if not managed effectively.
In line with the theme for World Hypertension Day 2023, the WHO has stressed the importance of accurate blood pressure measurement for the successful control of hypertension. They advocate for regular monitoring and routine health checks to detect hypertension early, and the initiation of lifestyle changes or medication as needed to manage it effectively.
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers: systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure measures the force your heart exerts on the walls of your arteries each time it beats, while diastolic pressure gauges this force between beats. A reading of 120/80 mmHg is considered normal. Hypertension is typically diagnosed when your blood pressure reading is consistently 140/90 mmHg or higher over several weeks.
Causes and Symptoms
The exact cause of hypertension is often not clear, but several factors and conditions may play a role. These include genetics, age, high salt and alcohol intake, obesity, lack of physical activity, stress, chronic kidney disease, and even certain medications.
Hypertension is often symptomless, earning its moniker ‘the silent killer.’ However, in some cases, people may experience headaches, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds, but these symptoms usually occur once blood pressure has reached a dangerously high level.
In Nigeria, the prevalence of hypertension is on the rise, primarily due to lifestyle changes associated with urbanization, such as increased consumption of processed foods, sedentary behaviour, and heightened stress levels. Additionally, awareness and control rates remain low, further exacerbating the problem.
Prevention and Control
Early detection is crucial in managing hypertension, hence the emphasis of this year’s theme on accurate measurement of blood pressure. Regular monitoring allows for early diagnosis and intervention, reducing the risk of complications such as heart disease and stroke.
Dr. Amy Ojiakor the Clinical Director of Cloud Clinic Limited while speaking on ways in which hypertension can be prevented opined thus:
Preventing and controlling hypertension involves lifestyle modifications and, if necessary, medication. This includes eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. Reducing your intake of saturated fats, salt, and alcohol can also help. Regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing stress effectively are other important preventive measures.Dr. Amy Ojiakor
The WHO has also highlighted the role of national policies and health systems in combating hypertension. They encourage countries to prioritize interventions that promote healthy diets, physical activity, and decreased tobacco and alcohol use, all of which can help prevent hypertension. They also underscore the importance of access to effective, affordable, and equitable treatment for all those diagnosed with hypertension.
CloudClinic: Your Partner in Health
In line with the theme of World Hypertension Day 2023, we encourage everyone to regularly check their vital signs and speak to a doctor about their health concerns. The good news is, you can easily access medical specialists at your convenience through CloudClinic.
CloudClinic offers a seamless platform where you can consult with healthcare professionals, monitor your health, and manage any chronic conditions like hypertension. You can join the CloudClinic community and download the CloudClinic app on Google Play Store for Android users or the App Store for iOS users.
Remember, taking accurate control of your blood pressure can significantly improve your health and potentially extend your life. This World Hypertension Day, let’s unite to increase awareness, prevention, and control of hypertension in our communities, in Nigeria, and around the globe. Remember, your health is in your hands, and with CloudClinic, you never have to face it alone.