Cape Town – A healthy blood pressure level is important, as elevated blood pressure can significantly increase your risks of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases.
An estimated 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 worldwide have hypertension or high blood pressure, according to the World Health Organization.
As World Hypertension Day is marked on Tuesday, May 17, Western Cape health and wellness nurse Verna Jacobs encouraged residents to learn more about high blood pressure to protect themselves and their loved ones.
She notes four common myths about the condition and how you can prevent and manage high blood pressure:
MYTH: High blood pressure is not serious and only affects older people
FACT: “Hypertension is a serious condition and should not be ignored,” says Jacobs.
“High blood pressure can affect anyone, including children. It increases the risk of heart and brain disease and can have serious health implications if left untreated or uncontrolled.”
MYTH: High blood pressure can’t be prevented
FACT: Some lifestyle habits can increase your blood pressure. In the same way, other habits can reduce your blood pressure. Risk factors include unhealthy diets (excessive salt consumption, a diet high in saturated fat and trans fats, low intake of fruits and vegetables), physical inactivity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol.
MYTH: You won’t need to complete treatment if you feel better after a few weeks
FACT: If you receive medication, it is important to take it to complete treatment as recommended by a health-care worker. Do your best to implement healthy lifestyle habits recommended by your nurse or doctor, such as exercising regularly.
MYTH: You will know if you have high blood pressure
FACT: Some patients may display symptoms which can include early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, vision changes, and buzzing in the ears. Severe hypertension can cause fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, and muscle tremors.
It is important that you have a health-care worker measure your blood pressure to detect hypertension. The process is easy, painless and free at our clinics.
Speak to your health-care worker about chronic condition support clubs at your local clinic if you have high blood pressure.
If hypertension is detected early, it is possible to minimise the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney failure. Individuals who already have hypertension can manage their condition by:
Adopting the healthy behaviour listed above.
Getting regular health and blood pressure checks.
Regularly taking any prescribed medications for lowering blood pressure.
Following any other medical advice from a trained health-care worker.