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Lifestyle Change Can Help Prevent Hypertension

The Department of Health (DOH), together with the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH) and other medical specialty societies, reiterated its call for everyone to practice a health lifestyle by limiting salt in their diets, maintaining normal weight and exercising daily for 30 minutes in order to reduce the risk of hypertension or high blood pressure as the country observes the month of May as “National Hypertension Awareness Month” under Proclamation No. 1761.

The DOH and PSH aim to raise awareness about the positive impact of simple lifestyle changes in preventing or managing high blood pressure. These lifestyle changes include maintaining a normal body weight, minimizing salt intake, regular exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, dancing or aerobics for at least 30 minutes daily, limiting alcohol intake to at most two drinks a day for men, and one a day for women, avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke, eating potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, managing stress by getting enough sleep and recreation, and practicing relaxation techniques.

According to Dr. Abdias V. Aquino, president of the PSH

Lifestyle changes can help prevent high blood pressure and control it in those who already have established hypertension

Hypertension has been dubbed as the silent killer because in many instances, victims are not aware of their affliction. It is estimated that there are more than 10 million Filipinos suffering from hypertension, half of whom don’t even know that they are hypertensive. They are thus at risk of sudden death due to massive heart attack or stroke. Hypertension occurs where high blood pressure is consistently equal to or higher than 140/90 mmHg.

Lifestyle changes are also especially important for people with so-called non-modifiable risk factors or those that cannot be changed such as family history, gender, race or age. “There’s nothing that 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”, explained PSH treasurer Dr. Lynn Gomez.

The DOH and PSH also advocate the importance of a health eating plan in helping prevent or control hypertension. One such plan is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet, which could help yield positive results in lowering blood pressure and preventing the onset of full-blown metabolic disorders such as diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.

Source DOH

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