The risks of high blood pressure can be counteracted with the effectiveness of timely measurement, diagnosis, and treatment. Therefore, we invite you to know everything about World Hypertension Day.
On May 17 of each year (except in extraordinary cases) World Hypertension Day is celebrated. The promotion of this event is due to the World Hypertension League (WHL, for its identification in English as the World Hypertension League).
The overall goals of the commemoration are aimed at increasing global awareness of the risks of high blood pressure. In addition to the transmission of timely information and the improvement of the measurement technique, since this factor can alter clinical determinations.
In turn, the clinical importance of hypertension, which has motivated the motto of 2021: “Measure your blood pressure accurately, control it, live longer”, is born from the statistics exposed by the WHL itself. In it, the League states that 50% of people with high blood pressure worldwide are not aware of their condition.
Health effects of hypertension
High blood pressure is a condition characterized by the elevation outside of healthy limits of the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries. This can trigger cardiovascular disease.
There are two elements to define blood pressure. These are the systolic pressure (pressure in the arteries during the heartbeat) and the diastolic pressure (pressure in the arteries between beats). The values of both are expressed in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
On the other hand, the symptoms of hypertension are not specific, since there are patients who do not show signs, regardless of whether they are very close to suffering serious effects, such as the following:
Acute myocardial infarction.
Insufficiency of blood vessels in the kidneys.
Rupture of aneurysms.
Likewise, there are circumstances in which the signs do make an appearance. They manifest in the form of headaches, nosebleeds, and breathing problems.
Causes and risk factors
Before defining the causes and risk factors, it is important to state that there are two types of hypertension: primary and secondary. In the case of the primary school, specific causes have not been established and it is attributed to changes that cannot be specifically determined.
As for secondary hypertension, it originates from a pre-existing disease. Therefore, its origins may be the following:
Consumption of drugs.
Some medications, such as pain relievers, flu, and decongestants.
Tumors located in the adrenal gland.
Following the line of conditions that are capable of promoting the condition that is sought to be made visible on World Hypertension Day, we can mention these risk factors:
Race: There is an increased risk of hypertension and serious consequences in people of African descent.
Age: between 64 (in men) and 65 years (in women) the risk of suffering from hypertension increases.
Overweight: the amount of blood required to carry oxygen and nutrients to the tissues is proportional to the weight you have. The greater the volume of the body without training, the greater the load on the cardiovascular system.
Sedentary: lack of physical activity.
Smoking: The chemicals in tobacco cause narrowing of the arteries and increase the chances of heart problems.
Diagnosis and treatment
The diagnosis of hypertension is made from a physical examination, together with the measurement of tension with the use of a blood pressure monitor. Measurement is required on each arm for comparative and differential purposes.
Taking the results, the following classification should be considered:
Normal blood pressure: systolic less than 120 mm Hg and diastolic of 80 mm Hg.
High blood pressure: systolic pressure 120-129 mm Hg and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.
Stage 1 hypertension: systolic 130-139 mm Hg and diastolic pressure 80-89 mm Hg.
Stage 2 hypertension: systolic pressure greater than 140 mm Hg and diastolic pressure greater than 90 mm Hg.
Hypertensive emergency: blood pressure greater than 180/120 mm Hg.
After finding the classification, treatment consists of lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and exercise. If stabilization is not achieved, then drugs such as diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor antagonists (ARBs), and calcium channel blockers are used.
Celebration of World Hypertension Day
The commemoration of World Hypertension Day is part of the effort of the World Hypertension League; Institution to which the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have joined.
The motto for 2021 is “Measure your blood pressure accurately, monitor it, live longer.” What is sought is to change the trend of ignorance about the disease that exists throughout the world and that is more evident in areas that have scarce resources.
The objectives are the following:
Report on correct measurement and risk factors.
Sensitize the population.
Promote research to improve treatment.
Activities on World Hypertension Day
Among the activities that take place on World Hypertension Day are informative conferences, fundraising events, free care sessions, courses to improve blood pressure measurement and the delivery of awards from the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), including the following:
ISH Franz Volhard and Outstanding Research Chair.
ISH Robert Tigerstedt Lifetime Achievement Award.
ISH Paul Korner Award supported by the Australian High Blood Pressure Research Foundation.
Honorary Fellow Recognition.
ISH Award for Excellence for Research in Health and Cardiovascular Disease in Women.
How can I participate in World Hypertension Day?
Some of the most significant ways to participate in World Hypertension Day are donations to official organizations, as well as the transmission of testimonies on social networks with the hashtag # WorldHypertension Day and #WorldHypertensionDay.
In addition to this, it is useful to take part in courses for blood pressure measurement and to use the material for the networks that PAHO renews every year.
Monitor blood pressure to be vigilant
Adoption of world best practices begins with individual change in good daily habits and sensitivity to small signals that the body can give. Along with this, it is recommended to frequently monitor blood pressure from 50 years of age onwards.
Ultimately, the most important considerations are reducing salt intake, choosing a healthy diet, exercising, avoiding alcohol, and aiming for a weight-for-height goal.