Today is World Hypertension Day, every year on 17 May there is a global drive to educate the world to increase the awareness of high blood pressure
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is the medical term that is used to describe high blood pressure. Did you know that hypertension is one of the major causes of strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease? It is even known to contribute to dementia.
One of the biggest challenges in tackling hypertension is that it often goes undetected, that is why it is often to referred to as the “silent killer“. Many people who have hypertension are not aware that they have it, that is why it is important to regularly test your blood pressure – do not wait until the signs are obvious resulting in a heart attack or stroke!
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha
More than one billion people around the world are living with hypertension, with around two-thirds of these living in low- and low-middle income countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 25% by 2025. To help with this WHO and United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Hearts Initiative, which aims to improve heart health all over the world. If you haven’t heard of this it focuses on five themes:
- HEARTS – managing cardiovascular diseases
- MPOWER (control tobacco)
- Active (increase physical activity)
- SHAKE (reduce salt consumption)
- REPLACE (eliminate trans fat)
Know Your Numbers
As there are no early symptoms of hypertension it is important to understand how blood pressure is measured and what the numbers mean. Blood Pressure is calculated by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the resistance of the blood flow through your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
- Blood pressure > 130/80 mmHg is high
- Blood pressure between 140/80 mmHg and 155/99 mmHg is classified as hypertension
How Can Physiotherapy Help?
Physiotherapists can help in many ways from education to management. While medication adherence is important, physiotherapists can give advice on keeping fit and safe exercise – exercise is a primary prevention intervention.
Aerobic exercise can lower blood pressure – 30 minutes or more per day of moderate-intensity exercise combined with resistance exercise 2–3 days per week is recommended.
What You Can Do?
Raising awareness of Hypertension will save lives! The theme to this year’s World Hypertension Day is: Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer. Raising awareness of hypertension and understanding how to accurately measure it can contribute towards this goal, wherever we are in the world.
Why not learn more today by visiting our Physiopedia page on Hypertension. As well as rehabilitation advice you can learn more about risk factors, signs and symptoms, complications, what the numbers mean, how it is diagnosed and how it is managed.
Refresh your skills on measuring both your own and other’s blood pressure so you can do so regularly.
Don’t forget to share your learning on social media – and remember to include this year’s hashtags #HypertensionDay #WorldHypertensionDay