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Know your blood pressure numbers to prevent heart attacks and stroke

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – 17th of May marked World Hypertension Day, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), along with the  Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is urging people to get their blood pressure checked regularly to prevent heart attacks and stroke.

One in three people with hypertension are unaware they have it, increasing their health risks.

The theme for World Hypertension Day was “Know your numbers,” highlighting the importance of getting regular blood pressure checks and understanding that a reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher means hypertension.

As part of Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Hon. Cornelius de Weever’s “Get Checked” campaign which promotes good health for all ages, adults are encouraged in the interests of their health to ‘know your numbers’.

PAHO/WHO estimates that in the Americas, 30 per cent of people with high blood pressure are unaware they have the condition.

Hypertension is a silent killer because in its early stages it rarely causes symptoms, and many people go undiagnosed.  Diagnosing and treating it on time can reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke and kidney failure.

All adults should know their blood pressure levels.  Healthy lifestyles can prevent hypertension, and for people who need medication, it can improve control.

An estimated 80 per cent of premature heart attacks and stroke can be prevented by reducing the leading risk factors for these conditions: unhealthy diet, tobacco consumption, harmful use of alcohol and physical inactivity.

Overweight and obesity and excess salt consumption – the single most important risk factor for hypertension – also increase one’s risk.

Studies show that high blood pressure contributes to some 9.4 million cardiovascular deaths worldwide each year.  In the Americas, 1.9 million people die yearly from cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in most of the region’s countries.  

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