Check your BP regularly to avoid complications of stroke, heart disease and kidney failure

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Persons aged 18 years old and above should start checking their blood pressure to know if they have high blood pressure or else take the risk of complications of stroke, heart disease and kidney failure, hypertension specialists said Tuesday.

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Dr. Romeo Divinagracia, an hypertension specialist and president of the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH), who participated in the health forum at the Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City, said that many Filipinos actually do not know that they are already hypertensive.

Notedly, PSH is waging a campaign for lifestyle changes in licking hypertension in line with the celebration of National Awareness Month, also World Hypertension Day (May 17) with this year’s theme “BP, BP All the Time? iPush Mo Yan” WHL- Know Your Blood Pressure”.

Calling the public to take every opportunity to have their BP check, Divinagracia said individuals with normal BP’s should start having their BP checked at least twice a year, and at least twice a week for persons already hypertensive.

High blood pressure is diagnosed when BP is consistently equal to, or higher than 140/90 mm Hg. For most patients with uncomplicated hypertension, keeping the BP lower than 140/90 mm Hg reduces their cardiovascular risk.

On the other hand, in high risk patients with diabetes, previous heart attack or stroke, chronic kidney diseases and multiple risk factors, the BP should be ideally less than 130/80 mm Hg.

Divinagracia stressed that for for persons with lower BP levels classified as high-risk, the most important approach is to change three major behaviors – physical inactivity, poor diet, and cigarette smoking, which have been to be responsible for the increase in the risk factors. These are highly contributory to cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of death in the Philippines and in the world.

Health experts also noted the need to lessen salt intake considering that many Filipinos are fond of eating salty foods.

For his part, Dr. Abdias V. Aquino, past president of PSH, said that lifestyle changes help control blood pressure, or control it on those who already have established hypertension.

Lifestyle changes are especially important for people who have risk factors that cannot be changed – the so-called modifiable risk factors, including family history, gender, race or age.

“There’s nothing that can be done about these non-modifiable risk factors but one can influence his other risk factors to prevent hypertension and metabolic disorders such as diabetes and hypercholesterolemia, explained Dr. Leilani Mercado-Asis, also of PSH.

Likewise, experts suggest undertaking the so-called DASHING diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension to lower the blood pressure and other metabolic problems such as diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity – diet low in fat but rich in low-fat dairy foods, fruits and vegetables.

In the dash diet—whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts, and dried beans (legumes) are recommended as part of the balanced diet.

Aside from health diet, experts emphasized the need to avoid smoking including second hand smoke, increase one’s activity with regular exercise – at least four times a week with a minimum exercise of 150 minutes; and manage stress with enough sleep, proper breathing and other relaxation techniques. PNA

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