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Hypertension and Life Style Modification

Hypertension Risk Factors Infographics - POLHN

Hypertension is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in arteries is persistently higher than what normally it should be. Each year on May 17th, World Hypertension Day is observed to acknowledge the disease’s burden on health of a significant population of the world. The uncontrolled high blood pressure is associated with number of concomitant health problems like coronary artery disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, cardiac hypertrophies and even heart attack.

Prevalence of disease

According to World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension affects 1.13 billion people and causes an estimated 7.5 million deaths worldwide. Across the WHO regions, the prevalence of raised blood pressure was highest in Africa, i.e. 46%. In Western Pacific Region, approximately 37% of the population is affected by hypertension. Among them, the prevalence of disease is more in men then in women.

% raised blood pressure in population of WHO regions of the world

% raised blood pressure in population of WHO regions of the world | POLHN

Signs and symptoms

A person with hypertension may not experience any sign or symptom. For this very same reason this disease is infamously known as “silent killer” as well. In spite of being asymptomatic and undetected, uncontrolled high blood pressure can adversely affect the internal organs of a patient. Patients occasionally complain about headache, sleep disturbance, restlessness or nosebleed where their blood pressure is high.

Risk factors for Hypertenison

The risk factors for hypertension include the following:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Family history
  • Smoking and use of tobacco
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • High sodium intake (as sodium chloride salt)
  • Stress
  • Concomitant disease state

Life style modification

Hypertension is among those diseases that can be managed through life style modifications as first line of therapy. Few changes in the way of living can help people live a better and healthier life. Enlisted below are some modifications that can be adapted:

  • Reducing weight if obese
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Following  the DASH (dietary approach to stop hypertension) diet protocols
  • Reducing the amount of sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg a day
  • Getting regular exercise such as brisk walking at least 30 minutes a day, several days a week
  • Limiting alcohol consumptions

POLHN-Helping people improving lives

In Pacific Region, very limited resources are available that can help in educating people about their as well as others well-being. In this regard, Pacific Open Learning Health Net (POLHN) provides free online learning opportunities to health workers in the Pacific and strives to make continuousprofessional development freely accessible to all health workers using relevant, effective and quality e-learning.

With respect to hypertension and associated life style modifications, POLHN has detailed courses which precisely focus on each of the risk factor of the disease as well as how to manage it. It provides a wide array of information to help health care givers to update their knowledge and implement it for the well-being of patients.

Hypertension focused courses offered by POLHN are:

Live courses:

  • Obesity and Overweight- helps in enhancing understanding of overweight and obesity, statistical insights, causative factors, broad-term health implications, preventive strategies and management of lifestyle problems. 
  • Training for Primary Care Providers - Brief Tobacco Interventions- provides a basic introduction to tobacco interventions. It will particularly assist healthcare providers to improve their skills and confidence to assist tobacco users in quitting its use.
  • Alcohol Reduction-explains how alcohol adversely affects both the individual and society. Participants will also learn about effective health interventions and policy options for preventing harmful use of alcohol.
  • Salt Reduction- explains the physiology behind sodium's effect on the body, followed by an explanation of excessive sodium use and its consequences. It enlists the best ways to implement salt reduction strategies.
  • Physical Activity- in this course, importance of physical activity is focused. It also covers different age-related guidelines and provides information on intensity of the physical activity training for different age brackets.

Upcoming courses:

  • Healthy Diet - The Macronutrients- it has been designed to highlight the significance of healthy diet in promoting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and to bring the dietary trends more in line with the Healthy Islands Vision. 
  • Healthy Diet - The Micronutrients: It is the continuation of healthy diet- the macronutrients, and helps to understand a healthy diet, and develops the knowledge about the dietary components that constitute the micronutrients.

Live Healthy Life | POLHN
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