Today on World Hypertension Day the South African Medical Association (SAMA) urges all South Africans to have their blood pressure measured regularly.

The theme of this year’s World Hypertension Day is ‘Know Your Numbers’.

High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure. It often has no signs or symptoms and is frequently called the ‘silent killer’. As such, it is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide.

“In South Africa, one out of every four people between the ages of 15 and 64 suffer from high blood pressure. An estimated 53 men and 78 women die in South Africa daily from the impact of hypertension. This makes it the highest prevalence in Southern Africa,” said Chairperson of SAMA, Dr Mzukisi Grootboom.

According to Dr Grootboom, while hypertension cannot be cured, it can be successfully treated to keep blood pressure figures below or within acceptable limits. Treatment success depends on the ability to take your treatment daily as prescribed.

“Hypertension awareness, treatment and control are critically important for the prevention of associated cardiovascular and kidney diseases, hence the emphasis on ‘knowing your numbers’. It is vital that all citizens, specifically those in the danger age range, check their blood pressure regularly to ensure they do not have elevated blood pressure,” says Dr Grootboom.

In addition to measuring blood pressure regularly, SAMA urges people to reduce salt consumption, eat more fruits and vegetables, reduce or managing stress, limit alcohol intake, avoid tobacco use, be physically active, and maintain a healthy body weight.

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