MANILA, Philippines–Know your numbers. Skip your favorite processed foods and be positive.
The World Health Organization dispensed these tips through several posters released Friday to mark World Hypertension Day, warning that deaths due to heart-related diseases will continue to rise further if no appropriate action will be taken.
Currently, hypertension or high blood pressure is responsible for at least 45 percent of deaths across the globe due to heart disease and 51 percent due to stroke.
According to Dr. Margaret Chan, hypertension already affects one billion people worldwide. Citing studies, she also said that raised blood pressure kills 9 million people every year.
Hypertension is diagnosed when the blood pressure is consistently equal or higher than 140/90 mmHG.
In the Philippines, it has been estimated that one in every four Filipino adults suffers from the “silent killer,” due to increased intake in high sodium food and other processed foods and leading a sedentary lifestyle.
To fight the illness, which is the biggest risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular and kidney ailments, the WHO urged the public to take precautionary measures such as checking their blood pressure regularly and take the prescribed medicines faithfully to prevent complications.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can also cause blindness, irregularities of the heartbeat and heart failure, said the WHO.
“High blood pressure is a ‘silent killer,’ it often has no warning signs or symptoms,” warned the health organization. “Know your numbers–check your blood pressure regularly,” it added.
The health agency also urged the public to avoid the harmful use of alcohol and to stop smoking or chewing tobacco, which can contribute to an elevated blood pressure. “Manage your stress positively and help your children learn healthy lifestyle habits,” it advised.
One can easily prevent and control the disease by making healthy choices, according to the WHO. This can also be done by eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight.
For a healthy blood pressure, one must cut down on his or her salt intake to at least five grams or one teaspoon per day. Consumption of sauces and ketchup is discouraged as well as processed foods, which are high in sodium.
“Eat at least five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day and restrict fried and fatty foods in your diet,” advised the WHO.