Experts on World Hypertension Day stress awareness for healthy lifestyle, exercise

ISLAMABAD, May 17 (APP):On World Hypertension Day, experts have emphasised the significance of early detection and control. 

The experts noted that due to a lack of awareness among the public, the high prevalence of hypertension among adults is increasing. They pledged to launch a large-scale initiative to promote healthier lifestyles.

Talking to PTV news, Psychiatrist, Dr Zobia Zubair said that the World Hypertension Day is observed every year on May 17 to raise awareness about the “silent killer” that affects a whopping million people in Pakistan. Hypertension Day’s theme for the year 2024 is ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer’, aiming to increase awareness around the gravity of this condition, she added.

She said that the younger population is becoming hypertensive due to sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and lack of physical inactivity which are major causes of high blood pressure and called for awareness at school levels in the country to diagnose people with hypertension.

Renowned cardiologist Dr Sohail Abrar said that nearly half of people with hypertension globally are currently unaware of their condition while more than three-quarters of adults with hypertension live in low and middle-income countries.

Hypertension affects one in five adults worldwide, he said, adding, this common, deadly condition leads to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage and many other health problems.

“Lifestyle changes like eating a healthier diet, quitting tobacco and being more active can help lower blood pressure. Some people may need medicines that can control hypertension effectively and prevent related complications”, he advised.

Dr Abrar said that the early detection and effective management of hypertension are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care and should be prioritised by countries as part of their national health benefit package offered at a primary care level.

He said that hypertension can also be a life-long condition, especially if not diagnosed in the early stages. Managing the condition requires a comprehensive approach. Various factors are considered, ranging from age and medical history to weight and lifestyle, he mentioned.

Consultant Cardiologist Dr Bashir Hanif stated that childhood hypertension is another cause of concern for the nation. This is mainly due to schools without playgrounds and the absence of parental support in outdoor activities, he maintained.

Likewise, he said that in the urban centres, office jobs, technology, and transportation facilities have significantly reduced physical activities. Moreover, the rapid shift towards urbanization contributes to the growing hypertension rate. Poor dietary choices, specifically high salt intake, are a major culprit, he highlighted.

The experts noted that the situation is undoubtedly alarming and requires a massive change in policymaking and a decent budget, experts alarmed. Free and easily accessible healthcare facilities should be introduced, they added.

Dr Abrar said said that various awareness programs are essential to changing people’s mindsets. Also, free hypertension screening can encourage more people to schedule regular screening, he added.

He said that hypertension is a prevalent condition worldwide impacting around 1.28 billion adults aged 30–79 years.