Hypertension is a long-term condition in which the blood pressure is increased.
It is the leading cause of death worldwide, affecting more than 1.4 billion people and accounting for more than 28,000 deaths each day.
The Malaysian National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019 reported that 30% of Malaysians above the age of 18 suffer from hypertension.
Numerous studies in different population groups demonstrated that optimal blood pressure control was achieved in only about one third of hypertensive patients.
Hypertension may not cause any symptoms initially, but if left untreated it can lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, vision loss and dementia.
Control of high blood pressure can help protect against these conditions, and there are other measures that can be taken to help lower blood pressure.
According to the International Society of Hypertension, there are eight simple rules of living with hypertension. The rules are as follows:
1. Measure your blood pressure regularly.
2. Limit your alcohol consumption (no more than two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women).
3. Eat a balance diet (with emphasis on fruits, vegetables and wholegrain).
4. Reduce stress.
5. Maintain a healthy weight.
6. Take your medications as prescribed (do not skip even one dose).
7. Reduce salt in your diet (less than 5 g of salt per day).
8. Regular exercise.
In conjunction with the World Hypertension Day (May 17, 2023), it is hoped that all hypertensive patients will measure their blood pressure regularly. Control it and live longer.
(Professor Dr. Moy Foong Ming, Department of Social & Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya.)