Senior citizens are being urged to limit the consumption of salt in order to prevent and control hypertension or high blood pressure.
The advice came from Consultant Cardiologist at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Dr. Victor Elliott, as he addressed the 8th staging of the Annual Men’s Health Day Seminar yesterday (June 20), at the St. Andrew Parish Church Hall.
Hypertension, commonly known as the silent killer, is sustained or persistent elevation of the pressure required to adequately maintain blood circulation throughout the body. It often has nosymptoms or warning signs, but can easily be detected with regular blood pressure checks.
According to Dr. Elliot, one in every five Jamaicans has hypertension. The disease is the leading cause of death, stroke, heart and kidney failure, blindness, heart attacksand poor circulation among Jamaicans.
Dr. Elliot said that in most cases, the cause of hypertension is unknown, but it is often influenced by excessive consumption of salt in the diet, alcohol, and lack of exercise.
“As adults we have to choose our food wisely, and in doing so, read food labels to know what are incorporated in the food items being purchased. Use fresh poultry, fish and lean meat, rather than canned or processed.Buy fresh vegetables,low fat dairy foods, use herbs, spices and salt-free seasoning blends in cooking. Eliminate the use of table salt, and choose convenience foods that are low in sodium to control or prevent high blood pressure,” he advised.
Dr. Elliot also cited the importance of physical activity, noting that persons, who are inactive, are 50 per cent more likely to develop high blood pressure.
He recommended that seniors, who are hypertensive, should continue taking the prescribed medications, eat healthy, and stay fit to combat the disease. Those, who are non-hypertensive, are urged to practice a healthy lifestyle to prevent high blood pressure.
“Seniors, I am imploring you to take charge of your health, eat right, take care of your heart, get regular health checkups, because hypertension kills, and destroys family life, so take good care of your inner health, and enjoy life to the fullest,” he urged.
Oswald DaCosta, who attended the session, said the information presented on hypertension, among other areas, helped to widen his knowledge.
“I am more health conscious in terms of eating the right food and I am totally eliminating salt from my diet. I also didn’t read food labels and exercise much, but now I am encouraged to, so I can stay fit as I grow older each day,” said the 85-year old.
Other presentations focused on proper nutrition, herbal medicines and pharmaceutical drugs that can assist in the treatment of hypertension.
In addition, the seniors were given nail and foot care treatment, as well as hair grooming.
The health seminar, hosted by the National Council for Senior Citizens (NCSC), also included the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), HEART Trust/ NTA, Eyeland Eyewear, Coconut Industry Board (CIB), Seven Seas, and the National Health Fund (NHF).
By Jeneva Gordon, JISReporter