2013 World Health Day


 
-contributed

 World Health Day is celebrated on April 7 to mark the anniversary of the creation of the World Health Organization. Each year a theme is selected for World Health Day that highlights an important public health issue. The theme for 2013 is high blood pressure. 

Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the artery walls as it moves to other parts of your body. It is normal for your blood pressure to get higher due to things like stress and activity; however, if your blood pressure stays high, you can have a condition called hypertension (high blood pressure). 

High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer”, as you may go for many years without any symptoms. Most people don’t even know they have high blood pressure until they have their blood pressure checked by their health-care provider during a routine visit. When left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Your blood pressure reading consists of two numbers:

·         Systolic (top number) – measures how hard the blood is pushed out of your heart when the heart is pumping

·         Diastolic (bottom number) – measures how hard the blood pushed out when your heart is relaxed and filling with blood 

You may hear someone refer to a blood pressure of 120 over 80 as the ideal blood pressure. This means the systolic pressure is 120 and the diastolic pressure is 80. High blood pressure is considered 140/90 or higher. This means your heart is working much harder to force blood to other parts of your body.

Who is at risk?
High blood pressure tends to affect adults more than children. It is more common in men; however, women are more at risk of developing high blood pressure after menopause. 

What causes high blood pressure?
In most cases, it is difficult to identify the exact cause of hypertension. There are several risk factors that may contribute to developing high blood pressure such as being overweight, drinking too much alcohol, physical inactivity, family history, smoking, and consuming too much salt in your diet.

How can you prevent it?
Reducing the risk factors will help prevent high blood pressure. It is also important to have a yearly physical examination with your health-care provider to monitor your blood pressure and identify concerns early.

For more information about high blood pressure, or for available programs and services, contact Health Link Alberta where nurses are available 24-7 to provide health advice and information. Call 1-866-408-LINK (5465) or 780-408-LINK (Edmonton area) or 403-943-LINK (Calgary area) or visit www.albertahealthservices.ca.

For more information on high blood pressure visit https://myhealth.alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?hwId=hw62787.

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