The Heart of the matter

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High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure but it is treatable and preventable

WORLD Health Organization (WHO) was set up in 1948 as part of UN activities. To commemorate the founding of WHO, World Health Day (WHO) is celebrated on April 7th. A theme is selected for World Health Day every year which highlights a priority area of public health concern in the world.

This is a day that draws worldwide attention to the importance of good health. The focus is on the importance of health as something that needs to be a part of everything we do. The brief also goes beyond personal health of individuals and addresses the issues in health that impact communities and societies.

Aims of WHD 2013

The goal of World Health Day 2013 is to reduce heart attacks and strokes. The objectives of this year's campaign are to:

• Raise awareness of the causes and consequences of high blood pressure.

• Encourage people to change behaviours and lifestyles that can lead to hypertension.

• Encourage self-care to prevent high blood pressure and make blood pressure measurement affordable to all

• Provide information on how to prevent high blood pressure and related complications

• Persuade adults to have their blood pressure checked regularly and to follow the advice of health care professionals

• Increase the number of health facilities offering blood pressure checks

• Encourage national and local authorities to create enabling environments for healthy behaviours

WHD Events in India

The WHD 2013 events in India are aimed at raising awareness amongst national policymakers, program managers and other stakeholders. It lays emphasis on the need to strengthen the Indian health system to respond to hypertension and its associated issues.

Effects of Blood Pressure

Blood pressure affects more than one in three adults worldwide. Yet it remains largely hidden. Many people remain unaware that they have high blood pressure as in many cases symptoms are not evident. Blood pressure leads to more than nine million deaths every year, including nearly 50 per cent of all deaths due to heart disease and stroke. The proportion increases with age, from 1 in 10 people in their 20's and 30's to 5 in 10 people in their 50's.

The risk of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and many other diseases increase with high blood pressure levels. Doctors say that treating raised blood pressure levels and maintaining it below 140/90 mmHg helps to reduce cardiovascular complications.

About high blood pressure

High or raised blood pressure (BP) is also called hypertension. Across the board, it increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. When BP is uncontrolled, it can cause blindness, irregularities of heartbeat and heart failure. The risk of developing cardio-vascular complications is higher when a patient has other problems like diabetes.

Managing BP

High blood pressure is both preventable and treatable. In some developed countries these measures have brought down deaths from heart disease.

You can reduce the risk of developing high BP by reducing salt intake, eating a balanced diet, avoiding excessive alcohol intake, avoiding tobacco, being regular with physical exercise and leading an active life, maintaining healthy body weight and learning to handle stress and tension.



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