BARBADOS: HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES IN THE LEAD

HEART attacks and strokes continue to be the leading causes of serious illness and death in Barbados, with hypertension commonly known as high blood pressure as a major contributory factor to these diseases.

{FILE IMAGE} As World Hypertension Day is observed, under the theme :"Healthy Blood Pressure - Healthy Heart Beat, the statistics still show that Worldwide and locally, it is estimated that up to one third of all persons with hypertension do not achieve good blood pressure control. This is so even with availability of effective treatment options, including a wide range of medicines which can be used for blood pressure control (PAHO).

{FILE IMAGE} As World Hypertension Day is observed, under the theme :”Healthy Blood Pressure – Healthy Heart Beat,” the statistics still show that Worldwide and locally, it is estimated that up to one third of all persons with hypertension do not achieve good blood pressure control. This is so even with availability of effective treatment options, including a wide range of medicines which can be used for blood pressure control (PAHO).

Furthermore the surveillance project of the Barbados National Registry for Chronic Non-communicable Diseases (BNR), based at the Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC) of the University of the West Indies, also revealed that diabetes and obesity coupled with alcohol abuse and smoking, played a major role in the incidence of those two conditions.

Most persons do not know whether their heart beat or heart rhythm is normal even if they have a blood pressure recording. This fact is becoming increasingly important as a fast rate over 100 beats per minutes or irregular heartbeats can make a person feel, tired, faint or have palpitations. This condition is known as Atrial Fibrillation or AF. It can cause clots increasing the risk of a stroke to 3-5 times greater than normal.

Humphrey Metzgen, the President of the Heart & Stroke of Barbados, said "These stats send a clear message: more Barbadians urgently need to adopt a healthier lifestyle and seek regular medical checkups before they become part of the statistic. On our part we are planning to launch next month a pilot a public national cardiovascular screening programme as part of our ongoing battle against this disease. We believe if we can identify this health risk early we stand a better chance of winning the battle".

Humphrey Metzgen, the President of the Heart & Stroke of Barbados, said “These stats send a clear message: more Barbadians urgently need to adopt a healthier lifestyle and seek regular medical checkups before they become part of the statistic. On our part we are planning to launch next month a pilot a public national cardiovascular screening programme as part of our ongoing battle against this disease. We believe if we can identify this health risk early we stand a better chance of winning the battle“.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados recommends that everyone over the age of 18 should at least have their blood pressure checked once a year, and those who have home blood pressure monitors should capture their results to see what their trend is showing, to take with them when they see their medical practitioner. High Blood pressure is a ‘silent killer‘ often with little or no external symptoms experienced by the individual, therefore the only way to gain an indication of ‘pressure‘ is to have it recorded.

Other simple preventative interventions include:

  • Finding time to relax and reduce stress
  • Maintaining a healthy weight with a Body Mass index of 25 or below for adults.
  • Exercising – i.e becoming breathless for at least 30 mins three times a week.
  • Eating a low fat, high fibre diet which includes 5 fruit or vegetables a day.
  • Limiting excessive alcohol
  • Quitting smoking

Know your Numbers Now! Get a check up in our National Cardiovascular Screening programme. A comprehensive cost effective first line service for anyone over the age of 18 years. Feel relaxed in a friendly and comfortable environment by calling 437 3312 today. For more information on Heart Disease and hypertension go to their website

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