Health & Medicine

Monday, 06 May 2019 15:46

Don’t Roll the Dice with your Life - Get Your BP Pressure Tested FREE during May Measurement Month

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Don’t Roll the Dice with your Life - Get Your BP Pressure Tested FREE during May Measurement Month

EVERY 3 SECONDS SOMEONE DIES FROM HYPERTENSION RELATED CAUSES
Don’t Roll the Dice with your Life - Get Your BP Pressure Tested FREE during May Measurement Month

4 - 46% of adults over the age of 15 in South Africa have high blood pressure1 (hypertension) but only 50% know they are affected2. Regular blood pressure checks can save lives.

Hypertension – more commonly known as high blood pressure (BP) – is acknowledged as the ‘silent killer’ because it’s just that. Despite there being no indications or symptoms of ill health, this invisible illness can potentially, if left unchecked, lead to serious heart disease, stroke and even death. With relatively few people making the connection between raised BP and the devastating consequences of the illness - awareness levels need urgent attention to curb the exponential growth of the disease in South Africa. A BP test is the only way to find out if BP levels are elevated – a non-invasive and really quick measure that will immediately determine if levels are unacceptably high – and in May, South Africans can get free BP testing thanks to a collaborative campaign, May Measurement Month, being orchestrated by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), the Southern African Hypertension Society (SAHS), Servier, National Department of Health (DOH), Dis-Chem, Novartis, OMRON and MSD[FIND A TESTING SITE HEREhttp://bit.ly/bptest2019]

The Initiative
Recognising the importance of halting the progression of the disease, May Measurement Month is a public service health campaign that aims to considerably bolster awareness of the importance of having blood pressure routinely checked. More than that, it will focus on mobilising South Africans to go for free BP screening during May; tests that will be run by the SAHS.

The frightening truth of the hypertension disease burden is the number of people with raised BP is on an upward trajectory, particularly in low and middle-income countries in Africa, with no signs of slowing down. Globally, adults with raised BP grew from 594-million to 1.13-billion between 1975 and 20153a. Of great concern is that over these four decades research has shown that the highest worldwide BP levels shifted from high-income countries to low-income, developing countries, and by 2015, sub-Saharan Africa joined central and Eastern Europe and south Asia as the regions with the highest global BP levels3b.

According to the President of the ISH, Prof Alta Schutte, some of the highest blood pressures in the world have been recorded in Sub-Saharan Africa. Locally, the picture is just as gloomy with many believing we are facing a national health emergency. “In South Africa almost one in every two adults has hypertension.

What’s more alarming is that about 70% of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa with hypertension are not aware they have high blood pressure,” says Schutte, who is also the Director of the South African MRC Unit for Hypertension and CVD at the North-West University.

Hypertension is the number one cardiovascular risk factor and the world’s greatest risk factor for death and disability according to the World Health Organisation4, leading to 9·4 million (95% UI 8·6 million to 10·1 million) deaths5a. Every three seconds a person dies from hypertension’s consequences5b. In South Africa an estimated 53 men and 78 women over 30 die from the impact of hypertension every day6. Other disease complications can include heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, renal impairment, retinal hemorrhage and visual impairment.

“When one considers that a simple BP test can be instrumental in avoiding this, it clarifies the importance of collaborative awareness campaigns like this,” adds Schutte.

The Risks
Explaining the contributing risk factors of the disease, Prof Brian Rayner, nephrologist and director of the Hypertension Institute at the University of Cape Town says, “Hypertension is most often caused by a combination of hereditary influences and poor lifestyle. You can do little about your parents or your age but you can live healthy. This includes exercise, reducing salt intake, following a good diet high in fruit and veg, no excessive alcohol consumption, maintaining an ideal weight, managing stress and no smoking”, says Rayner.

“Hypertension kills economically active people or disables them due to stroke, heart attack or kidney failure. This has a further financial impact on families who must provide care for their loved ones after a stroke. If you don’t have your BP measured you won’t know you have the condition until it strikes. The importance of annual BP testing cannot be stressed enough and if you have a BP higher than 140/90 immediately seek further medical intervention. Lifestyle changes should be sufficient to correct a BP of 130-140/80-90,” says Rayner.

Rayner adds that elevated BP is subject to the rule of halves. “50% of the population is unaware of their condition, 50% of those who are aware do not take treatment, and 50% of those who take treatment are not controlled, leaving only 12.5 % of the total population who are controlled.”

From this it’s clear that BP management is all about the numbers and these figures indicate that treatment goals are not being met and it’s time to retool. World Hypertension Day is celebrated on 17 May and the World Hypertension League’s theme fittingly is “Know Your Numbers”.

BP Screenings
"Over the past two years May Measurement Month has been the largest ever synchronised screening campaign in the world of any risk factor, testing over 2.7 million people. This highlights the importance of raised blood pressure as the leading risk factor for death in the world. In 2019 we hope to reach far greater numbers," says Schutte.

"All the information gathered from the national screenings is entered into a national database. We will use the data collected to assess and learn more about the problem of high blood pressure. All the data we collect is totally anonymous,” says Schutte. “The next important step is to use these results to ensure global and local policy changes, where governments are activated to take this risk factor seriously and ensure that the management of blood pressure is properly and systematically controlled.”

Quick and Painless Test
Usually, the healthcare professional will use an electronic device that is strapped to the upper arm. The cuff or band squeezes the arm for several seconds, cutting off blood flow, and then releasing. It’s important that some simple rules are followed when checking for hypertension: sitting calmly, feet flat on floor and not having eaten in the past hour.

As a consequence of the predicted 10% increase in BP levels between 2000 and 2025, an estimated 560-million extra people will be affected by hypertension7. South Africa has the highest rate of high blood pressure reported among people aged 50 and over for any country in the world, at any time in history, with almost 8 out of 10 people in this age group being diagnosed with high blood pressure8. “Because cardiovascular disease affects a third of adults in the world, it is the largest epidemic ever known to mankind. Don’t roll the dice with your life. Commit to having your BP checked this May Measurement Month,” concludes Schutte.

The blood pressure screenings being organised by the SAHS will be held at the following venues in May:

Date : May 2019

Time

Venue

City

May

08:00 – 17:00

Dis-Chem Pharmacies

Nation-wide

GAUTENG

May - Mon-Fri

09:00-16:00

Chirocare - C1 Cascades Office Park, Cnr Hendrik Potgieter & Cascades Road, Little Falls       

Roodepoort, Gauteng

May – various days

All Day

Myriam Thys Physiotherapy -  Shop 2, Fairland centre, cnr 14th avenue Fairland         

Johannesburg, Gauteng

May - Mon-Fri

09:00-16:00

Michael Ellefsen, Biokineticist Upper Level, ‘L Corro Shopping Centre, Cnr. 14th Ave & Bagley Terrace, Northcliff

Johannesburg, Gauteng

2nd May

09:00-15:00

WITS Solomon Mahlangu House Senate House - main campus

Johannesburg, Gauteng

7th May

09:00-15:00

WITS PPS lounge main campus (matrix)

Johannesburg, Gauteng

7th May

13:30-15:00

WITS PPS lounge main campus (matrix)

Johannesburg, Gauteng

9th May

9:00-15:00

WITS Phillip Tobias Building

Johannesburg, Gauteng

14th May

9:00-15:00

WITS PPS lounge main campus (matrix)

Johannesburg, Gauteng

14th May

13:30-15:00

WITS Education campus (Public Health Building)

Johannesburg, Gauteng

16th May

09:00-15:00

WITS Solomon Mahlangu House Senate House - main campus          

Johannesburg, Gauteng

18th May

10:00-15:00

Bryanston Organic Market

Fourways, Gauteng

21st May

09:00-15:00

WITS PPS lounge main campus (matrix)

Johannesburg, Gauteng

21st May

13:30-15:00

WITS Medical School (Adler Museum)

Johannesburg, Gauteng

23rd May

09:00-15:00

WITS Medical School departments

Johannesburg, Gauteng

28th May

09:00-15:00

WITS PPS lounge main campus (matrix)

Johannesburg, Gauteng

20th to 31st May daily: bar Sunday

All Day

Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens

Roodepoort, Gauteng

Weekdays

 

SOWETO households

Johannesburg, Gauteng

TBC

All Day

Melrose Arch GP – screening at various companies in and around Melrose Arch

Johannesburg, Gauteng

NORTH WEST

May: daily

All Day

NWU campus clinic

Potchesfstroom, North West

6th - 17th May

All Day

NWU Potchefstroom Amphitheatre and Loverslane

Potchefstroom; Mahikeng; Vanderbijlpark, North West

6th -  17th May

All Day

Ikageng Mall (11 Zinn St, Potch Industria)

Potchefstroom, North West

6th - 17th May

All Day

Rural Ikageng

Potchefstroom, North West

6th - 17th May

All Day

Die Bult (main pedestrian street in Potchefstroom, 76 Molen St)

Potchesfstroom, North West

LIMPOPO

24th May

10:00-16:30

Ga-mogoboya, Facility Sports ground, Batlhabine Traditional Area, Carling Sport Facility

Tzaneen, Limpopo 

WESTERN CAPE

Every Thursday

All Day

Groote Schuur Hospital

Observatory, Cape Town

FREE STATE

24th May

All Day

Ngwathe Local Municipality Area, at open space Mapetla Section next to orphanage home

Parys, Free State

Don’t become a statistic - check your pressure this May Measurement Month. It’s free at Dis-Chem and other participating sites in May. Find one in your area. http://bit.ly/bptest2019.

Maymeasure SA is a SAHS initiative in collaboration with National Department of Health, Dis-Chem and various other screening service providers nationwide. Maymeasure SA 2019 is supported via unrestricted funding by Servier Laboratories, Omron (international and South Africa), as well as MSD and Novartis (South Africa).

-- ENDS --

About ISH: the International Society of hypertension (ISH) is dedicated to the prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases around the world. The ISH has identified that awareness is a key issue in the fight against hypertension.[1] During May Measurement Month (MMM), the aim is to screen as many people as possible for elevated blood pressure. In 2018, 1.5 million worldwide were screened for their blood pressure. Servier will be partnering with ISH in order to help raise awareness and motivate those at risk to have their blood pressure checked.

About SAHS: The vision of the Southern African Hypertension Society (SAHS) is to contribute toward eradicating the ill-effects of high blood pressure in Southern Africa. To achieve this vision the SAHS is committed to promoting education, research, setting out guidelines, open communication and awareness of hypertension throughout Southern Africa.

References

  1. SA Demographic and Health Survey: https://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/Report%2003-00-09/Report%2003-00-092016.pdf
  2. Olsen MH, Angell SY, Asma S, et al. Lancet. 2016;388:2665‐2712.
  3. Worldwide trends in blood pressure from 1975 – 2015: a pooled analysis of 1479 population-based measurement  studies with 19.1million participants. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration – www.thelancet.com Vol 389, January 7, 2017 (a: pg 37, b: pg 45)
  4. World Health Organization. Geneva: WHO, 2014.
  5. Lim SS, Vos T, Flaxman AD, et al. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet 2012; 380: 2224–60.
  6. Health24. [Internet]. What is the prevalence of hypertension? [updated 8 Feb 2018; cited 24 April 2018]. Available from https://www.health24.com/Medical/Hypertension/Faqs/What-is-the-prevalence-of-hypertension-20130205

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