“21 percent of Filipino adults are hypertensive,” said Dr. Dante Morales, President of the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH) during the National Hypertension Awareness celebration conducted at the Universidad De Manila on 19 May 2012.
Hypertension is considered as the biggest single risk factor for deaths worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension causes 7 million deaths every year while 1.5 billion people suffer due to its complications.
“Most of the time, hypertension has no symptoms,” said Dr. Morales. “This makes the condition more dangerous. If remain untreated, the arteries and other vital organs in the body will be damaged,” he added. Hypertension causes heart attack, stroke, heart failure, aneurysm or renal failure.
In the Philippines, heart attack is the most common cause of death among Filipinos. “This may be attributed to continuous neglect on the danger of hypertension and its complications,” said Dr. Morales.
A study conducted by PSH found out that the prevalence of hypertension in the country is increasing. In 2003, data showed that 16 percent or approximately 7 million Filipino adults 20 years and above has hypertension. The incidence increased to 10 million or 21 percent of Filipino adults 20 years and above in 2008.
“Based on the data, we are expecting the incidence to increase more in the next survey in 2013,” said Dr. Morales. He reminded the public to be aware of the food they eat and encouraged them to have at least 30 minutes exercise a day to reduce the risk of hypertension. “Because our lifestyle has direct impact on our health,” added Dr. Morales.
Living a healthy lifestyle plays an important role in treating hypertension. “If you were diagnosed with high blood pressure, avoid smoking, minimize salt intake and alcohol consumption and a regular exercise are among the key strategies which may avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication,” stressed Dr. Morales.
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