Sunday, 7 April 2013

World Health Day - Theme: Hypertension (7th April)






World Health Day 2013 (Theme: Hypertension) – 7th April

Today is celebrated as World Health Day. On this special day, I just wanted to share few points which can help us to create a HEALTHY TOMORROW. It is an initiative by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to spread the awareness about health quotient. This post is just my small part in spreading the awareness about the Hypertension, which has been chosen as the theme for this year. Read it and spread the awareness if you find it useful. All the facts and contents are based on the references cited at the end of my post.

History behind World Health Day:

World Health Day is celebrated on 7th April to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948. Each year a theme is selected for World Health Day that highlights a priority area of public health concern in the world.
The theme for 2013 is Hypertension (High Blood Pressure).

What is Hypertension :

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Hypertension also known as High blood pressure or raised blood pressure - increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. If left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can also cause blindness, irregularities of the heartbeat and heart failure. One in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is very common, especially in middle-aged and elderly people. Once it has developed it tends to last for life. High blood pressure puts a strain on the heart and circulatory system, which can ultimately cause damage to many parts of the body.

The normal level for blood pressure is below 120/80, where 120 represents the systolic measurement (peak pressure in the arteries) and 80 represents the diastolic measurement (minimum pressure in the arteries).
  •    Blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called prehypertension (to denote increased risk of hypertension), and
  • Blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered hypertension.


Causes of Hypertension :

Though the exact causes of hypertension are usually unknown, there are several factors that have been highly associated with the condition. These include:
  • ·         Smoking
  • ·         Obesity or being overweight
  • ·         Diabetes
  • ·         Lack of physical activity
  • ·         High levels of salt intake (sodium sensitivity)
  • ·         Insufficient calcium, potassium, and magnesium consumption
  • ·         Vitamin D deficiency
  • ·         High levels of alcohol consumption
  • ·         Stress
  • ·         Aging
  • ·         Medicines such as birth control pills
  • ·         Genetics and a family history of hypertension - In May 2011, scientists from the University of Leicester, England, reported in the journal Hypertension that some genes in the kidneys may contribute to hypertension.
  • ·         Chronic kidney disease
  • ·         Adrenal and thyroid problems or tumors

Who are more prone to Hypertension:

  • ·  Up to the age of 45, more men have high blood pressure than women.
  •    More women have hypertension by the time they reach 65.
  •    You have a greater risk if a close family member has high blood pressure or if you are diabetic
  • ·  About 60% of people with diabetes have high blood pressure.

Symptoms of Hypertension:

There is no specific symptom for identifying hypertension. About 33% of people actually do not know that they have high blood pressure, and this ignorance can last for years. For this reason, it is advisable to undergo periodic blood pressure screenings even when no symptoms are present.
However, extremely high blood pressure may have some symptoms which include:
·         Severe headaches
·         Fatigue or confusion
·         Dizziness
·         Problems with vision
·         Chest pains
·         Breathing problems
·         Irregular heartbeat
·         Blood in the urine

Effects of Hypertension:

·         Brain: High blood pressure can cause tiny blood vessels inside your brain to rupture. A bleeding vessel or clot inside the brain can result in a stroke.
·         Eyes: If a blood vessel inside the eye ruptures from hypertension, it can cause blurred vision and even blindness.
·         Kidneys: If blood vessels inside the kidneys become too narrow, these organs can lose their ability to filter waste products out of your blood. This can lead to kidney failure, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
·         Heart: The heart is a muscle that requires oxygenated blood. If it doesn't get enough oxygen to function properly or blood flow to the heart is blocked, this can cause angina or a heart attack. Over time, the pressure of having to work harder can weaken your heart — a condition called congestive heart failure.

Prevention of Hypertension :

High blood pressure is both preventable and treatable. The risk of developing high blood pressure can be reduced by:
·         Reducing salt intake
·         Eating a balanced diet
·         Avoiding harmful use of alcohol
·         Taking regular physical activity
·         Maintaining a healthy body weight and
·         Avoiding tobacco use.

Conclusion:

Since there is no specific symptom for the Hypertension, we need to be extremely cautious. Hypertension is often a life-long condition. It is important to take your medications and continue to monitor your blood pressure. If you keep it under control, you can reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure. Lifestyle modification plays an important role in the treatment and prevention of Hypertension. Lack of awareness also leads to increase in the incidence of Hypertension. Lets share and spread the awareness and make a healthy tomorrow.

Disclaimer: All content in this blog is provided only for general information and awareness based on the references cited at the bottom, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of the health care professional.

References: who.int, patienthealthinternational.com, medicalnewstoday.com, webmd.com, everydayhealth.com


13 comments:

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