Blood Pressure Awareness: World Health Day

Blood Pressure Awareness: World Health Day

Teacher and EMT Kali Spoelstra taking Michelle Pasquale’s blood pressure.

Tyler Miller, Staff Writer

World Health Day was celebrated worldwide on April 7, 2013 bringing awareness on this year’s theme: high blood pressure.

World Health Day is endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as it marks the anniversary of its founding in 1948. According to the organization’s official website, WHO.int, On this day, the WHO begins a new campaign to bring global knowledge and understanding on a public health issue plaguing the world. Through this year’s campaign, High Blood Pressure, the WHO plans not only to raise awareness, but also to provide information on how to prevent high blood pressure, encourage the public to check their blood pressure and learn how to control it, make blood pressure measurement available and affordable to everyone, and urge governments to create a and support environments that promote healthy behaviors.”

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a huge issue worldwide as it affects one-third of the world’s adults, reported CNN medical managing editor Miriam Falco on CNNHealth.com. According to an article on WHO.int, a normal blood pressure should be around 120/80 mm Hg, and a high or elevated blood pressure is when that number is around 140/90 mm Hg. High blood pressure has many life threatening side effects such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failures.  If left untreated, high blood pressure can also cause blindness, irregular heartbeat and heart failure.

The causes of high blood pressure can include the closing of arteries or rapid heartbeat, but most causes are unknown. However, according to an article on WHO.int, there are many ways to prevent it. A person can help keep blood pressure at a healthy rate by reducing salt intake, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding the harmful use of alcohol. Also, regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy body weight, and avoiding the use of tobacco are preventable measures.

High blood pressure is something people of all ages need to be aware of, even teenagers. Some things that can lead to high blood pressure in children and teens are heart and kidney diseases and some medications, but mostly an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise, according to Falco for CNN Health. Some ways that teens can maintain a healthy blood pressure, or lower it if needed, are eating healthy, participating in physical activities, and managing body weight as reported in a report on WHO.int.

Whether or not it’s World Health Day, make sure to get your blood pressure checked regularly to maintain a healthy life style.