Health officials Thursday advised electoral candidates, Commission on Election (Comelec) officials and other stakeholders to minimize stress and monitor their blood pressure to avoid complications of hypertension, dubbed as the silent killer disease, amid pressure on the upcoming polls.
While pressure is building up due to the issue on the poll machines, Department of Health (DoH) Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral said it is also high time for everyone involved in the elections to have their blood pressure checked before complications arise.
???You should know your blood pressure. You should maintain it at a normal rate and do not smoke, maintain a normal weight, and do not forget to exercise,??? Cabral said in a conference marking the celebration of the national hypertension awareness month Thursday.
The DoH official estimated that more than 10 million Filipinos are suffering from hypertension, half of whom are unaware of their condition. Hypertension occurs where blood pressure is consistently equal or higher than 140/90 mmHg, the DoH noted.
Cabral said everyone should avoid the risk factors of hypertension such as excess body weight, high salt intake, smoking, and inactivity. But lifestyle changes can help a person avoid hypertension.
Dr. Dante D. Morales, vice-president of the Philippine Society for Hypertension, warned high-risk patients or those that have diabetes, chronic kidney disease and those who have had a previous heart attack or stroke to have an ideal blood pressure lower than 130/80 mmHg.
???People who become excited or stressed, if they are healthy and their blood pressure is normal, there is no problem. But to those whose BP is beyond normal, this is a problem especially those who have diabetes and they are smoking or those with a high cholesterol, it is very dangerous. They are at greater risk to suffer from complications,??? he added.
The doctors said high blood pressure is the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease accounting for approximately 60 percent of strokes and 50 percent of coronary disease. High blood pressure is also an important risk factor for kidney disease, they added.
Dr. Ramon Abarquez, professor emeritus of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine and hypertension expert, said persons who have three or four relatives should have their BP checked because it is more likely that they are also suffering from the same condition.
He said adopting a healthy way of living should be applied by the whole family as it is more encouraging to practice a healthy lifestyle if the whole family is into it.
By JENNY F. MANONGDO