One out of four Filipinos in general is hypertensive, and roughly half of them are not aware of their condition.” That’s the sad prognosis I heard yesterday over the radio while traversing a stressful 150- minute drive which normally would just be 45 minutes.
In a recent news release, the Department of Health (DOH) said that “hypertension remains to be the leading cause of illness and a primary contributor to premature death in the Philippines, projecting around 200,000 deaths yearly in the country attributed directly or indirectly to high blood pressure.”
“Some of these unsuspecting hypertensive individuals are extremely at-risk and can be considered as ‘walking time bombs,’ because anytime they can figuratively ‘explode’ to develop complications like massive stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney failure.”
DOH provides screening for hypertension and other non-communicable diseases like diabetes in health facilities nationwide. Those who are diagnosed with hypertension are registered in the DOH Hypertension and Diabetes Registry and Club for regular follow-up medical examination as well as provision of maintenance medicines.
“Health awareness offers tremendous advantages. Screening is a cost-effective way to identify at-risk individuals and those who may have already been experiencing significant symptoms, leading to lower disease rates, reduced healthcare costs, and increased productivity,” Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial pointed out.
To intensify the awareness on hypertension through a needed multi–sectoral approach and in observance of the Hypertension Awareness Month (as declared in Presidential Proclamation 1761), the DOH together with the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), World Hypertension League (WHL), and our local coordinating society Philippine Society of Hypertension and Philippine Heart Association will conduct a blood pressure (BP) screening initiative for the whole month of May.
“We have an ambitious goal during the month of May 2017 to screen 25-million people, who have not had their BPs measured since April 30, 2016, during the month of May 2017. To reach this target, each day throughout May, we will need to screen for example an average of 100 people in 100 sites in each of 100 countries (100 x 100 x 100 x 25 = 25 million!),” said ISH president Neil Poulter.
“We appreciate that the number of sites will vary from country to country based on the population size. But a target to screen one percent of the population of each country will also get us to target,” he added.
This initiative is part of a global BP screening towards achieving the goal to screen 25-million people worldwide where the Philippines is one of the lead countries crusading this cause through its local campaign called May Measurement Month 2017 (MMM17) with a theme #BantayBP “Magpa-check at mag-monitor. Now na!”
DOH is targeting at least 1.7-million Filipinos, 18 years old and above, who have not undergone BP measurement for the past year. There will be a nationwide screening for the whole month of May in the rural health units, health centers, barangay health stations, and other healthcare facilities.
“Do not be a victim of the silent killer, make a move now and take control of your blood pressure. Achieve a healthy and long life!” Secretary Ubial appealed.
Hypertension or high blood pressure increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke, chronic kidney failure, and peripheral vascular disease. It occurs when the blood pressure, or force of blood pushing against the blood vessel walls, gets too high and stays that way.
Hypertension is dubbed a “silent killer” because it doesn’t have early signs or symptoms. A person can look and feel great and still have hypertension. You can also be young and have the disease. It can affect anyone at any age, even children.
When your blood pressure is taken, there are two numbers. The top number, or systolic blood pressure, measures when the heart pumps or contracts while the bottom number, or diastolic blood pressure, measures when the heart is resting or relaxing.
Health professionals in general agree that the upper range of normal blood pressure should be 130/80 or less. The lower your numbers, the better.
The key risk factors for hypertension include family history of hypertension, high salt or sodium intake, high fat intake, obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, insufficient physical activity or exercise, and chronic or continuous stress. Some women who use oral contraceptives may also have an increased risk of developing hypertension.
Lifestyle adaptations to prevent or manage hypertension should include weight control, active and regular exercise, limiting salt intake to no more than 2.4 grams a day, limiting alcohol intake to no more than one ounce a day, taking the minimum daily requirement of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, plus avoiding excessive emotional stress.
source: Philippine Star - May 9, 2017 - 12:00am