Hypertension: The biggest killer


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Olivia Morris, Reporter

High blood pressure is the biggest killer worldwide, accounting for more than 10 million deaths a year. A global study involving Perth researchers has revealed that more than one-third of people have high blood pressure and are unaware of it.

High blood pressure is a condition also known as “Hypertension”, in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. According to the Heart Foundation, the causes of high blood pressure are: family history, eating patterns (salty foods), alcohol intake, weight and how much physical activity you do.

While some people feel quite well or have no symptoms of high blood pressure at all some symptoms that may occur are: headaches, dizziness or sudden effects such as chest pain or stroke.

Shelley McRae, Clinical Engagement coordinator from the Heart Foundation WA, told NewsVineWA another cause of high blood pressure is cholesterol: “Manage your blood cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fatty substance carried in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to be healthy.”

Data was collected from 1.2 million people across 80 countries with every participant being over the age of 18. A number of participants had hypertension, which was almost on par with the global average which is 34.1%,  according to UWA Professor Markus Schlaich.

Professor Schalich also went on to say that the most alarming fact was that almost half of those who had hypertension were being treated for it already but still had levels higher than recommended.

With all of the causes excluding family history being preventable, The High-Pressure Research Council of Australia said that blood pressure can be elevated by stress, emotional state, caffeine and even talking, with the average case being most frequent in middle age men in Western countries.

Professor Bruce Campbel told NewsVineWA: “Blood pressure needs to be regularly monitored to know whether it is a concern for an individual. The good news is it can be successfully managed with lifestyle and medications.”

It is important to note that while high blood pressure is easily manageable it can all cause and increases your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, diabetes, eye disease and erectile dysfunction.

The High-Pressure Research Council of Australia also said: “The usual starting point is to ensure that a healthy lifestyle is followed. Lifestyle factors that reduce blood pressure include weight reduction.” Lifestyle modification or drugs also reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and death.

On 17 May 2018, the Heart Foundation called upon Australians to ‘Know Your Numbers’ for World Hypertension Day. This day aims to raise awareness of the dangers of high blood pressure.

If you’re concerned about high blood pressure here are some dates and locations that are open for public testing in the next week:

May 24-25 at Rockingham Hospital from 10 am – 2 pm
May 29-31 at Trigg Health Care Centre from 11 am – 2 pm