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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health is encouraging persons to do blood sugar and blood pressure checks on a regular basis.
  • These checks are important in the fight against Hypertension, which is also called the silent killer.
  • Hypertension is generally discovered when the blood pressure is checked and that it is a simple painless procedure that can be done at home.

The Ministry of Health is encouraging persons to do blood sugar and blood pressure checks on a regular basis, avoid foods that are high in salt content, and maintain a healthy weight.

Acting Director of Chronic Diseases and Injuries Prevention in the Ministry, Dr. Tamu Davidson Sadler, explained that these checks are important in the fight against Hypertension, which is also called the silent killer.

In an interview with JIS News, Dr. Davidson-Sadler, said that hypertension is a major contributor to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). “It is the leading cause of death as a risk factor globally, and because it is asymptomatic, meaning there are no symptoms, many persons are unaware that they are hypertensive,” she noted.

The Acting Director explained that hypertension is generally discovered when the blood pressure is checked and that it is a simple painless procedure that can be done at home.

She added that almost half of the persons surveyed in the last Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey were unaware that they were hypertensive and that the same survey showed that 70 per cent of males were unaware of their condition.

“It’s a serious problem in Jamaica, the level of awareness around a condition that you can easily have checked,” she noted.

Dr. Davidson-Sadler said the Ministry of Health has adopted the Global ‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ campaign, which is expected to run for the next five years.  She said the thrust to get persons to know their numbers through being screened for various conditions, was an expansion of that campaign.

“One in every four Jamaicans has hypertension and about 35 per cent of Jamaicans between the ages of 15 and 74 are pre-hypertensive. It is the single most important risk factor that leads to stroke, heart attack and early morbidity due to an NCD,” she said.

Dr. Davidson-Sadler informed in October 2013, a National Strategic Plan and Strategy for the prevention of NCDs in Jamaica was passed and that the National guidelines for hypertension were recently revised and updated and will be rolled out across the island this year. This, she said, will help with the execution of the ‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ global campaign.

The World Hypertension League leads the world in recognizing World Hypertension Day (WHD) on May 17 each year. The day provides opportunities to improve prevention and control of hypertension.

 

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