No pressure, but perhaps check if you’re hypertensive
In SA, an estimated 53 men and 78 women over 30 die from the impact of hypertension every day
Scores of South Africans are living with a killer health condition and don’t realise it.
Hypertension – more commonly known as high blood pressure – is regarded as a silent killer, and if left unchecked can lead to heart disease, stroke and even death, medical experts have warned.
Ahead of World Hypertension Day on May 17, they have urged people to take a blood-pressure test – the first step in the fight against the condition, which one in two SA adults have.
It’s for this reason that May was declared “Measurement Month” by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), the Southern African Hypertension Society and the national health department, among others, two years ago.
The screening campaign has already tested more than 2.7 million people since its inception.
Professor Alta Schutte, president of the ISH, said some of the highest blood pressures in the world have been recorded in sub-Saharan Africa.
“What’s more alarming is that about 70% of adults in sub-Saharan Africa with hypertension are not aware they have high blood pressure,” said Schutte.
In SA, an estimated 53 men and 78 women older than 30 die from the impact of hypertension every day.
Other disease complications can include heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, renal impairment and visual impairment.
“When one considers that a simple blood pressure test can be instrumental in avoiding this, it clarifies the importance of collaborative awareness campaigns like this,” said Schutte.
Professor Brian Rayner, nephrologist and director of the Hypertension Institute at the University of Cape Town said: “Hypertension is most often caused by a combination of hereditary influences and poor lifestyle.
“You can do little about your parents or your age, but you can live healthily.”
This includes exercise, reducing salt intake, following a diet high in fruit and vegetables, no excessive alcohol consumption, maintaining an ideal weight, not smoking and managing stress.
“Hypertension kills economically active people or disables them due to stroke, heart attack or kidney failure. If you don’t have your blood pressure measured you won’t know you have the condition until it strikes,” he said.
Check your blood pressure for free at Dis-Chem and other participating sites in May.
Find one in your area.