- World Hypertension Day is observed on 17th May every year
- Aims to create awareness about hypertension and its risks among the general public
- Extra care is needed for people with hypertension to protect them during this COVID-19 pandemic
- Theme for the year 2020 is ‘Know Your Numbers’
World Hypertension Day is celebrated globally on 17th May and the theme for the year 2020 is ‘Know Your Numbers.’ On this day, awareness about hypertension is given to the general public. The day is organized by the World Hypertension League (WHL). It is an umbrella organization, which is composed of 85 hypertension societies and leagues from all over the world.
Objectives for Celebrating World Hypertension Day
To create awareness about the symptoms of hypertension
- To encourage regular blood pressure measurement
- To know various methods for early prevention of high blood pressure
- To highlight the prevalence of high blood pressure in society
Coronavirus and Hypertension
Pneumoniais one of the most common complications of the COVID-19 virus. Having cold or flu or pneumonia can increase the risk of having a heart attack. Also, having a weaker immune system can put them more at risk of COVID-19.
Data collected from China and Italy shows that people with high blood pressure are at higher risk of COVID-19 infections and complications. Nearly two-thirds of people above 60 years have high blood pressure and are also at risk of dying due to coronavirus.
High blood pressure patients need to take extra care to protect themselves during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and medication needs to be taken just as prescribed by their doctor to lower their risk.
Hypertension: Facts and Statistics
- Hypertension or high blood pressure is defined as a systolic blood pressure equal to or above 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure equal to or above 90 mm Hg
- Worldwide, hypertension is a leading cause of premature death
- It is also called a ‘silent killer,’ as there are no apparent symptoms.
- Unhealthy lifestyle practices like adding too much salt, being overweight or obese, and not exercising enough may increase the risk of high blood pressure
- Hypertension can also put you at risk for heart disease and stroke
- Only 1 in 4 adults with hypertension have their condition under control
- In the U.S, half of the adults do not take medication
- In India, about 2.6 lakh die due to hypertension and has become the most prevalent chronic disease in the country
- One-third of the Indian population is expected to suffer from the condition in 2020
5 Tips to Prevent Hypertension during COVID-19 Pandemic
Following a healthy lifestyle is the first step in both preventing and controlling hypertension. Here are a few simple health tips to follow during this COVID-19 pandemic:
- Eat a Healthy Diet: Hypertension is reduced by an eating plan and cutting down on table salt. The eating plan should include fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods. The diet should consist of whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts and have reduced amounts of fats, red meats, sweets, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Also, include foods rich in potassium, fiber and protein along with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
- Maintain a Healthy Body Weight: Being obese or overweight can increase the risk of high blood pressure. People who are overweight need to lose weight and those of normal weight should avoid gaining extra pounds. You can also talk with your doctor or dietitian about how to maintain healthy body weight.
- Be Physically Active: Regular physical activity help you maintain healthy body weight and lower your blood pressure. Exercising daily for about 30 – 40 minutes three times a week can help manage or control high blood pressure.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking increases your blood pressure levels and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. Quit smoking and try to limit your alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks a day to lower your risk of hypertension and heart disease.
- Get a Good Night’s Sleep: A good night’s sleep is important to your overall health. Sleeping for 7-8 hours a day can keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis may increase your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Most importantly, monitor your blood pressure levels regularly to prevent yourself from the silent killer. On this World Hypertension Day, let us all come together to raise awareness on this deadly silent killer.
‘Health is correlated with quality of life. If you get regular physical activity, have social connections, control your cholesterol, keep your blood pressure at a normal level, don’t smoke – these things can make an enormous difference not only in how long you live, but how much you enjoy your life in those years’. – Tom Frieden