Prioritizing blood pressure care on World Health Day

1Today April 7 is the day when the world is commemorating World Health Day to draw the attention of policy makers, human resources for health and civil society and urge the public sphere to undertake every possible task to reduce heart attacks and strokes and is the theme for 2013. The commemoration indeed encourages every individual to contribute in his or her own means for the reduction of such health condition and is a must in the country like Nepal where one in four men and women have blood pressure which can lead to heart attack, stroke and other problems.

‘Hypertension is one of the major risk factors for coronary heart disease and strokes and is regarded as a silent killer because it does not show any symptoms until it becomes late’, says Dr. Khem Karki. He adds, ‘Even though it is easily diagnosed and treated, many people do not have access to basic health services, particularly in poor countries like Nepal.’

‘More than one in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure and among the people aged 50 and above, the proportion is one in two. The proportion increases with age, from 1 in 10 people in their 20s and 30s to 5 in 10 people in their 50s’, suggests World Health Organization. Complications related to high blood pressure account for more than nine million deaths worldwide every year, which includes 51 per cent of deaths due to strokes and 45 per cent of deaths due to coronary heart diseases.

High Blood Pressure, also known as raised blood pressure or hypertension creates conducive environment for the development of heart attacks, blindness, blood vessels rupture, brain impairment, strokes and kidney failure. In the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, the risk of developing these complications is higher.

High blood pressure if preventable and treatable if certain aspects are respected and undertaken. With the application of such preventive measures, there has been some remarkable reduction in deaths from heart disease. Reducing salt intake, eating balanced diet, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, taking regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy body weight and avoiding tobacco use can be heavily helpful to reduce high blood pressure.

In Nepal, extensive programs related to raise awareness of the causes and consequences of high blood pressure are necessary. However, different organizations have been developing and making IEC (Informative Educational and Communication) materials available in different public displays, blood pressure measurement systems should also made available at affordable price. Since awareness is most important to combat against the disease, the unification of every individual from every corner is important to achieve the target.

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