Hypertension: a common illness

HYPERTENSION is the commonest chronic illness affecting at least 20 per cent of the adult population worldwide.

There are about 1.5 billon people with raised BP globally. The majority of these patients belongs to developing nations with maximum burden on South Asia, which is home to one-fifth of the global population.

According to the National Health Survey of Pakistan, 18 per cent over the age of 15 suffer from hypertension.

This survey is nearly 20 years old. It is believed that the figures in Pakistan have increased over the years.

Hypertension, being a silent disease, often goes undiagnosed leading to serious complications which include strokes, heart attacks/heart failure, kidney failure and visual loss. The only way to know whether a person is hypertensive or not is by getting it checked. Hence the need for awareness among asymptomatic patients.

Timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment of hypertension can prevent the above serious complications.

Keeping in view the magnitude of the problem the World Hypertension League, in collaboration with WHO and other agencies, observed May 17 as World Hypertension Day (WHD).

On this occasion various programmes were chalked out to create awareness among the public on its significance and how to prevent it.

It has been shown that people who are overweight, lead sedentary life, consume more salt, consume tobacco in any form, eat greasy food and are diabetic are prone to become hypertensive.

In addition, it has strong heredity tendency as well. Therefore, if we need to avoid becoming hypertensive, we must adopt healthy lifestyle by addressing the above factors.

Each year the WHD has a particular theme: ‘Healthy blood pressure, healthy heartbeat”.

Pakistan Hypertension League, a member society of WHL, has over the years observed this day by holding camps, public awareness meetings, seminars and various efforts through media to sensitise the public profession and policymakers on this important public health issue affecting millions of Pakistanis at the danger of catastrophic complications.

PROF. M. ISHAQ President,Pakistan Hypertension League

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