Lifestyle change is key to control hypertension, CVD
BY MYLENE C. ORILLO
WHEN high blood pressure goes untreated, it damages progressively the arteries and vital organs throughout the body leading to cardiovascular complications like myocardial infarction and stroke.
This was stressed by experts from the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH) as they reminded the public once again that a healthy lifestyle is the key to help control hypertension.
In a health forum, Dr. Romeo A. Divinagracia, PSH president, emphasized the need for awareness, prevention, detection, and management of hypertension due to the increasing trends of the prevalence risk factors for atherosclerosis such as hypertension, abnormal lipids, diabetes, and obesity. Physical inactivity, poor diet, and cigarette smoking remain as contributory risk factors to cardiovascular disease.
“Our lifestyle is making us obese and hypertensive,” said Dr. Divinagracia, a cardiologist, internist, and hypertension specialist. “It’s the price of success!” he added.
The ‘silent’ killer
Hypertension is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’. Approximately four in 10 adults have raised blood pressure which often goes undiagnosed.
While hypertension is easy to screen and effective drugs/lifestyle changes are available, roughly half of adults with hypertension are unaware of their condition.
For most patients with uncomplicated hypertension, the BP goal is lower than 140/90 mm Hg.
“In high-risk patients with diabetes, previous heart attack or stroke, chronic kidney disease, and multiple risk factors, the BP should be ideally less than 130/80 mmHg,” said Dr. Divinagracia.
Now in its fifth year, the PSH, World Hypertension League, and Hypertension Alliance Philippines conducted the National Awareness Month with the theme: “BP BP all the time, push mo yan!” at the Marikina Sports Complex last May 17.
Activities included free clinics like BP measurement, weight, height, and BMI check, random blood sugar test, cholesterol test, ECG test, ankle-brachial testing, free ECG (for 40 years old and above), and chest X-ray for the first 100 patients (first come, first serve).
This is in line with the Proclamation No. 1761 declaring May of each year as National Hypertension Month signed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to recognize the heavy disease burden of hypertension among Filipinos and World Hypertension Day annually celebrated on May 17.
While the public is encouraged to participate in those activities, the PSH strongly recommends adopting a complete lifestyle change, which is especially important for people who have risk factors that cannot be changed (non-modifiable risk factors, including family history, gender, race, or age).
“There’s nothing can be done about these non-modifiable risk factors, but one can influence his other risk factors to prevent hypertension and metabolic disorders such as diabetes and hypercholesterolemia,” said Dr. Leilani Mercado-Asis, PSH treasurer and former president of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Lifestyle changes include maintaining a normal weight, reducing sodium in our diet, exercising, limiting alcoholic drink, non-smoking and avoiding people who smoke to prevent second-hand smoking, getting 3,500 mg of potassium, managing stress, and regular, deep, and slow breathing.
“Stress is one factor. But what I do, I don’t bring my work [issues] at home except if I have a critical patient,” said Dr. Divinagracia who is also the current president of the University of the East – Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERMMMC), Inc.
The health forum was organized by the Philippine College of Physicians and the Philippine Society of Hypertension. Other panelists included Dr. Vicente V. Tanseco PSH secretary and former president of the Philippine Society of the Nephrology and Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) and Dr. Abdias V. Aquino, former presidents of PSH and Stroke Society of the Philippines, Philippine Neurological Association, and PCP.
VitalSigns Issue 64 Vol. 3, June 1-30, 2014