Nevis public urged to check their blood pressure; guard against hypertension

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (MAY 22, 2013) — Medical Officer of Health on Nevis Dr. Judy Nisbett urged Nevisians to get their blood pressure checked and adopt a healthy lifestyle in a bid to prevent hypertension. She made the plea in a televised address on May 17, 2013 when Nevis joined the international community in observance of World Hypertension Day 2013. The theme was “Healthy Blood Pressure – Healthy Heart Beat”.

Dr. Nisbett noted, that hypertension was the leading cause of death on Nevis in 2011, a worrying trend for Health Officials and explained that the observance brought sharp focus to the illness.

“In Nevis hypertension was the leading cause of hospitalisation in 2011 and diseases of the circulatory system, caused primarily by hypertension, were the leading causes of death. This has been the trend over the years.

This day is therefore used to highlight the preventable stroke, heart and kidney diseases caused by high blood pressure and to communicate to the public information on the prevention, detection and treatment of high blood pressure,” she said.

According to Dr. Nisbett, hypertension was referred to as a ‘silent killer’ because one could have the illness and feel perfectly fine. However, if left unchecked, the high blood pressure could cause damage to the blood vessels of the heart and brain and lead to heart attack or stroke.

“High blood pressure can place extra strain on your heart causing thickening of the heart and an irregular heartbeat. It can damage your kidneys and lead to kidney failure. Have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis,” she urged.

Regarding the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, Dr. Nisbett suggested that persons manage their weight and stick to the correct weight assigned for their height.

She further added, that they should consume a healthy diet of locally grown fruits, vegetables and other produce, whole grains, lean cuts of meat, high fibre and low fat and low salt and stressed that one should consume no more than one teaspoon of salt per day and eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

The Medical Officer of Health also recommended that they should also limit the consumption of alcohol and stop smoking; manage stress through good social relationships and find time for hobbies, relaxation and rest.

Dr. Nisbett also encouraged those who already suffered from hypertension to take their medications.

“If healthy lifestyle activities do not return your blood pressure to a normal level, then treatment with medication is added. If you experience problems with your medication discuss this with your health care provider.

“Never stop your medication without telling your health care provider because abrupt discontinuation of medication can lead to rapid and dangerous increase in blood pressure,” she warned.

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