High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for illness and premature death

Sint Maarten’s calendar of health observances is to promote particular local or global health issues, and encourage the population to get regular check-ups.


For the month of May, high blood pressure and stroke is an issue that is worth discussing.  High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for illness and premature death from a cardiovascular event, and this is the second leading cause of disability in the world.  It is also the main cause of ischemic heart disease and stroke.


According to new research by the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people in the world with high blood pressure reached 1.13 billion, nearly doubling since 1975.


The largest ever study of its kind, the research involved the WHO and hundreds of scientists throughout the world, and incorporated blood pressure measurements from nearly 20 million people.


Heart attacks, stroke and other circulatory diseases together kill more than 15 million people a year, or 30 per cent of the annual total of deaths from all causes.  Many of these deaths are both premature – occurring in people under 65-years – and preventable.


Between 20 and 35 per cent of the adult population in Latin America and the Caribbean has hypertension.  The number of people with high blood pressure has been increasing in recent years and many are unaware that they have this condition.


Blood pressure is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, and it is treatable.  High blood pressure affects about 20 per cent of adults in most countries.  Blood pressure increases progressively with age.


Cigarette smoking is the most readily preventable risk factor for both heart disease and stroke.


High blood cholesterol levels are also a major risk factor.  The causes can be genetic, but are commonly related to a diet rich in animal fats.


Lack of physical activity is the most prevalent, modifiable risk factor for heart disease.  Obesity is a risk factor in itself for heart disease, and is related to inappropriate nutrition and inactivity.


In connection with the aforementioned, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department with the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour, is calling on the populace to ‘get healthy’ by being active.


For more information you can call CPS 542-2078 or 542-3003 or send an email to su**********@si************.org