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The silent killer

LAHORE: The World Hypertension Day is observed every year on May 17th. The day is observed to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer.

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. High blood pressure usually does not cause any symptoms. Long-term high blood pressure, however, is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, vision loss and chronic kidney disease.

The WHO has identified hypertension as the leading cause of cardiovascular mortality. Over 50pc of the hypertensive population worldwide is unaware of their condition. Raised blood pressure is estimated to cause 7.5 million deaths. Globally, because of population growth and ageing, the number of people with uncontrolled hypertension rose from 600 million in 1980 to nearly one billion in 2008. More than 50pc adult population suffers from hypertension in Pakistan.

Lifestyle changes and medications can lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of health complications. These changes include weight loss, decreased salt intake, physical exercise and a healthy diet. If lifestyle changes are not sufficient then blood pressure medications are prescribed. The treatment of moderately high arterial blood pressure with medications is associated with an improved life expectancy.

Dr Zeeshan Khan

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2017.

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