World Hypertension Day 2021: Let’s know more about the date, history, theme this year and importance of controlling hypertension or high BP during the Covid-19 pandemic and the ways to manage it
World Hypertension Day is observed in May 17 each year. Reasons for hypertension in young people include high stress levels along with obesity, sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits. Prolonged hypertension, also known as, high blood pressure comes as a major risk factor for many medical conditions including coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, vision loss, etc. Conscious lifestyle changes and medications can lower blood pressure, decreasing the risk of health complications.
World Hypertension Day History and significance
World Hypertension Day, initiated by The World Hypertension League, is observed on May 17 every year.
The initiative was launched on on May 14, 2005 however, the World Hypertension League has been dedicating May 17 of every year as World Hypertension Day since 2006.
Hypertension is the main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases which include coronary heart disease and stroke. It is also responsible for triggering chronic kidney disease, heart failure, arrhythmia and dementia.
The theme for World Hypertension Day for five years from 2013 to 2018 has been ‘Know Your Numbers’ which aimed at increasing high blood pressure awareness in all populations, the theme in 2021 is ‘Measure your blood pressure, control it, live longer!’ to raise awareness especially in low to middle income areas and promote the accurate blood pressure measurement methods.
Importance amid Covid-19:
Some people with hypertension, diabetes and heart disease may develop more severe symptoms and complications once infected with the coronavirus. The pandemic is also leading to an increased prevalence of hypertension within all age groups. This is happening due to increased stress levels, lack of outdoor exercise due to frequent lock downs as well as unhealthy dietary patterns.
- Exercise – Active lifestyle can help lower your systolic blood pressure by an average of 4 to 9 mm Hg. Exercise helps you to maintain a healthy weight which in turn helps to control blood pressure.
- Diet – Eating a heart-healthy diet is important for managing your blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke and other diseases.
- Continue medication – When somebody is diagnosed to have hypertension (systolic blood pressure 140 or more and/or diastolic blood pressure 90 or more), then in addition to diet and exercise, medicines become a must. Medicines need to be increased step wise to keep the blood pressure within range.
- Stop smoking – While smoking is not conclusively proven to cause high blood pressure, each cigarette you smoke temporarily increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish.
- Don’t drink – Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels.