Scores of people including children celebrated World Health Day 2013 on Sunday by participating in a hiking trip up the Margallas. This year, World Health Day is themed around hypertension — or high blood pressure. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in three adults worldwide have high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The hikers went up and back down Margalla Hills Trail 3 in around two hours. Medical consultants at the hiking trip — organised by Shifa International Hospital — briefed the participants that reducing sodium intake and avoiding junk food are essential to preventing high blood pressure. Some children were also holding posters supporting good health and healthy lifestyles.
Dr Shahzad Khan Siddique, a consultant medical specialist and geriatrician, said there are multiple reasons for hypertension. “Stress, being overweight and a sedentary lifestyle are some main reasons,” he said. “Promoting a healthy lifestyle with regular physical exercise and proper nutrition can minimise the risk of high blood pressure,” he added.
“Irregularities in blood pressure are sometimes not noticeable, so a person with high blood pressure might feel normal, which is what makes hypertension dangerous,” Siddique said.
High blood pressure leads to more than nine million deaths every year, including about half of all deaths due to heart disease and strokes, according to the WHO.
However, high blood pressure is preventable and treatable. Siddique said regular medical check-ups are necessary for high blood pressure diagnosis.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2013.