World Hypertension Day is observed every year on May 17 to create awareness about Hypertension (High Blood Pressure), its symptoms, and ways to manage it. It was first introduced in May 2005 by the World Hypertension League (a non-profit and non-government organization) and has become a regular annual event ever since. Hypertension or high blood pressure occurs when one’s BP reaches an unhealthy level of 140/90. However, it is regarded to have touched a dangerous level when the blood pressure measurement goes beyond 180/120.
As per the World Hypertension League (WHL) organization, there are two vital components to raise awareness regarding hypertension:
- The first is to “establish high-capacity community screening programs for recognition of high BP in those at risk”.
- The second is to “promote the routine measurement of BP by a health-care professional at all clinical encounters.”
World Hypertension Day Theme 2022
The World Hypertension Day theme for 2022 is ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer. It focuses on combating low awareness rates globally, particularly in low-income areas and middle-income areas. Also, it focuses on an accurate blood pressure reading methods.
Its goal is to tell the significance of hypertension and the serious medical complications arising from it. Moreover, it provides information on hypertension detection, prevention, and treatment. The awareness of hypertension can not be accomplished without the support of health care professionals, volunteer organizations, media, and the government in each country.
More than a billion people live with hypertension around the globe which is a serious factor causing cardiovascular disease and early death worldwide. Earlier hypertension was seen as a health condition found in senior citizens, but it has become prevalent in the younger population too.
Causes of Hypertension
Obesity, stress, sedentary lifestyle, and poor diet, are some of the primary causes of hypertension in people. Prolonged high BP puts an individual at a higher risk of memory loss, heart attack, chronic kidney disease, stroke, vision loss, nerve damage, and chronic medical conditions.
The chance of hypertension increases with your age. Men are more likely to develop hypertension by the age of 64 while women are more prone to get hypertension after the age of 65.
Hypertension is more common in people of the African race. Serious complications due to high BP, such as kidney failure, stroke, and heart attack, are more common in African ethnicity.
One of the most common causes of hypertension is obesity. The more obese you are, the more oxygen and nutrients your body needs and thus the more blood pressure. As blood flow through your blood vessels increases resulting in increased pressure on your artery walls.
- Sedentary Lifestyle
Not being physically active tends to have higher heart rates. The higher the heart rate, the stronger the force on your arteries. Leading a sedentary lifestyle with a lack of physical activity also increases the risk of being obese.
Smoking raises your blood pressure immediately, and chemicals in smoke can damage the lining of your artery walls. It causes your arteries to narrow, hence an increased risk of heart disease. Passive smoking too increases your risk of getting heart disease.
- High Salt Intake
Too much sodium in your diet causes your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
- Alcohol Consumption. Heavy drinking can damage your heart with time. Alcohol raises levels of a hormone- renin which in turn causes the blood vessels to constrict. Contraction in blood vessels leads to high BP. Alcohol consumption, in the long run, elevates blood pressure.
High levels of stress can lead to only a temporary increase in blood pressure. However, stress-related habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating unhealthy foods can lead to hypertension.
Prevention of Hypertension
We can’t do anything about our increasing age, but we can do something about our unhealthy lifestyle to lower our numbers. Here are some ways to manage hypertension and its related health complications:
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
High BP is directly related to weight. Therefore, obese people should shed some extra pounds while people with normal weight should maintain their healthy weight.
- Eat a Balanced Diet. Eating nutritious and healthy food comprising fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help keep your blood pressure under control. Limit the intake of saturated fats, trans fats, and sugar.
- Say No to Salt
A low-sodium diet can help keep blood pressure normal because a higher sodium intake boosts your blood pressure. Avoid high sodium packaged and processed foods. Cut back on salt intake and avoid packaged and processed foods. Try not to add extra salt to your plate.
- Exercise Regularly
Get moving to prevent high blood pressure. Physical activity is crucial because as you exercise more easily your BP manages. Opt for a combination of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, vigorous exercise, muscle-strengthening activity, and resistance training regularly to stay fit and manage BP.
- Limit Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to hypertension. Therefore, it is advised to limit your alcohol intake and drink occasionally.
- Manage stress
Stress raises your BP temporarily, and it is known to contribute to other important risk factors for hypertension, for example, unhealthy eating habits and alcohol intake. Meditation, yoga, and relaxation techniques may help you manage stress and high blood pressure as well.
- Monitor your blood pressure
It is the most critical factor to take in your health regime. Ensure to measure your BP regularly and accurately. High blood pressure is often regarded as a silent killer without any symptoms, therefore, a regular track is mandatory. If your blood pressure is below or equal to 120/80 mmHg, then check it at least once annually. However, check your BP more often if your blood pressure is higher than 120/80.
Take a glance at your lifestyle habits and decide where you can start making changes to prevent hypertension. Beat small goals, such as snacking on fruits instead of junk food. Practice these healthy habits till they are a part of your daily routine. Adopting these lifestyle changes can not help control high blood pressure but also aid in keeping you fit.