Tuesday, May 17, 2022

World Hypertension Day

Today is World Hypertension Day and the City of Cape Town’s Health Department is encouraging residents to embrace this year’s theme, Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer. Figures from City facilities show a 70% increase in new hypertension cases in the 18-44 age group and a 35% increase for those older than 45.

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is important as an elevated blood pressure can significantly increase your risks of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases.

An estimated 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 years worldwide have hypertension or high blood pressure, according to the World Health Organization.

In the last 12 months, City facilities have reported 2 241 new cases of hypertension in the 18-44 age group compared to 1 320 in the preceding year. In the 45 plus age group, there are 1 875 new cases compared to 1 385 the previous year.

Western Cape Government Health and Wellness Nurse Verna Jacobs has encouraged residents to learn more about high blood pressure to protect themselves and their loves ones. Sr Jacobs, who works at the Elsies River Community Health Centre, leads a hypertension support group to empower residents living with hypertension.

Cred: The Links Community

In line with this year’s theme, here are four commons myths about hypertension and how you can prevent and manage high blood pressure.


1. MYTH: High blood pressure is not serious and only affects older people

FACT: Hypertension is a serious condition and should not be ignored


2. MYTH: High blood pressure can’t be prevented

FACT: Some lifestyle habits can increase your blood pressure. In the same way, other habits can reduce your blood pressure. Risk factors include unhealthy diets (excessive salt consumption, a diet high in saturated fat and trans fats, low intake of fruits and vegetables), physical inactivity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol.


3. MYTH:  You won’t need to complete treatment if you feel better after a few weeks

FACT: If you receive medication, it is important to take it to complete treatment as recommended by a healthcare worker. Do your best to implement healthy lifestyle habits recommended by your nurse or doctor, such as exercising regularly.


4. MYTH: You will know if you have high blood pressure

FACT: Hypertension is called the “silent killer” for a reason. Many people with hypertension are unaware that they have the condition and may not display symptoms.


Some patients may display symptoms which can include early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, vision changes, and buzzing in the ears. Severe hypertension can cause fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, and muscle tremors.

If hypertension is detected early, it is possible to minimise the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney failure. Individuals who already have hypertension can manage their condition by:


  • Adopting the healthy behaviour listed above.
  • Getting regular health and blood pressure checks.
  • Regularly taking any prescribed medications for lowering blood pressure.
  • Following any other medical advice from a trained healthcare worker.


Access to healthcare is a basic human right, whether for hypertension, diabetes or any other condition. If you need support, you can make an appointment at your local clinic or visit your clinic.


By Danielle Mentoor


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