MANILA, Philippines?One in every four Filipino adults suffers from hypertension or high blood pressure?the biggest risk factor for heart and kidney diseases, as well as diabetes.
Worse, the number of Filipinos with hypertension continues to increase, including those addicted to high salt snacks and other processed foods, according to HEALTHbeat, the official publication of the Department of Health (DoH).
Citing the latest figures from the National Nutrition and Health Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), HEALTHbeat said the number of hypertensive adults had increased to more than 25.3 percent compared to 22 percent in 2003.
The FNRI survey also revealed that ?at least 11 in every 100 Filipinos have pre-hypertension, or blood pressure readings of 130 to 139 millimeter mercury, or mmHG (over 85 to 89 mmHG).?
?This becomes alarming as high blood pressure increases with age starting from 40 to 50 years,? HEALTHbeat warned.
Hypertension is diagnosed when the blood pressure is consistently equal or higher than 140/90 mmHG.
Over 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from hypertension, according to the World Health Organization, noting that 7 million die from the ?silent killer? each year.
The treatment of hypertension is ?not complicated,? according to the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH). It recommended the following tips:
? Maintain a normal weight.
? Reduce sodium or salt intake, said to be the major cause of hypertension in 3 out of 10 adults.
? Eat less processed and so-called fast foods which are high in salt content, saturated fat and sugar.
? In general, vegetarian diets help reduce blood pressure.
? Exercise for at least 30 minutes to raise your heart rate.
? Avoid alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and other tobacco products.
? Manage stress with enough sleep, recreation, meditation and relaxation techniques. Jerry E. Esplanada