High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases a person’s risk for getting heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye disease and even sudden death. When blood pressure exceeds a certain limit, it is called high blood pressure.
Hypertension is one of five common underlying conditions identified in people who have died due to COVID-19 complications in South Africa, especially in the Western Cape.
According to the World Hypertension League, approximately four (4) in 10 adults older than 25 years have hypertension, although many (50%) do not know that they have the condition. At the same time many who are aware do not take any action to control their blood pressure, either through lifestyle changes or medication.
Unlike many other diseases, hypertension has no symptoms that is why it is called the “silent killer”.
The good thing is that blood pressure is easily measurable, allowing a person to do something to prevent and control it.
The World Hypertension League recommends that everyone should get their blood pressure checked at least once a year:
- If your blood pressure is below 120/80, then you have normal, healthy blood pressure
- If your blood pressure is less than 140/90 but above 120/80, you are at a risk of becoming hypertensive. You need to take some immediate steps to improve your lifestyle, including:
- quitting smoking if you are a smoker
- reducing your body weight to a healthy level
- becoming more active
- improving dietary habits to include more vegetables and fruits
- reducing salt intake
- cutting down on the amount of fat eaten
- and checking your blood-pressure status every year
- If your blood pressure is above 140/90, you need to be checked by a healthcare provider to see if you have hypertension
SAMWUMED Benefits for Hypertension Sufferers
SAMWUMED also encourages its members and dependents to use their Wellness Benefits to get their High Blood screenings once a year. These screenings are free and can be done at any of the Scheme’s network of pharmacies or doctors.
Source: Southern African Hypertension Society