Hypertension awareness

Manila, Philippines --- Despite the rising prevalence of hypertension, awareness about the condition remains low among Filipinos, prompting doctors to advise the public to "know your blood pressure as your body weight."

"Hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. The National Nutrition and Health Survey II in 2008 revealed that nine million Filipinos suffered from hypertension or a prevalence rate of 20 percent, a four-percent increase since the first NNHeS was conducted in 2003," said Dr. Dante Morales, president, Philippine Society of Hypertension in press briefing organized by Takeda Pharmaceuticals Philippines in Makati City.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is called the "silent killer" for its lack of symptoms and can go undiagnosed for years. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, explained Morales.

Citing a study, he said hypertension is common among Filipinos but awareness is low.

"It (hypertension) is common but the knowledge is low both males and females. Of the number of patients with hypertension, only 50 percent were aware, of the treated ones, 13.1 percent have been treated while only 19.3 percent controlled their high blood pressure," said Morales.

The risk of developing high blood pressure or controlling high blood pressure can be mitigated by making lifestyle changes including eating a balanced diet, maintaining optimal weight, exercising regularly and not taking too much alcohol, Morales added.

Prof. Alan Gradman, Professor of Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, said, "it is important to involve the patients. Patients need to know how what their blood pressure is, their blood pressure target is, how low should it be?"

For most patients, the acceptable blood pressure number is below 140/90, Gradman added.
Prof. Hermann Haller, director, Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, Hannover Medical School, University of Hannover, Germany, said that for those undergoing medication, it is best to take medication every morning because the early blood pressure rise in the morning... know your blood pressure as your body weight," said Haller.

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