Hypertension awareness drive targets 1.7M Filipinos

THE government said Thursday it is targeting to screen 1.7 million Filipinos, for high blood pressure (BP) as the government embarks on a month-long campaign aimed at creating awareness about hypertension.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said Filipinos, who are 18 years old and above, will have the opportunity to have their blood pressure checked at health centers, rural health units, health centers, barangay health stations, and other healthcare facilities across the nation for the whole month of May.

“Health awareness offers tremendous advantages. Screening is a cost effective way to identify at-risk individuals and those who may have already been experiencing significant symptoms, leading to lower disease rates, reduced healthcare costs and increased productivity,” said Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial in a statement for the National Hypertension Month.

The initiative serves as part of a global BP screening towards achieving the goal to screen 25 million people worldwide with the Philippines being one of the lead countries crusading the cause through its local campaign called May Measurement Month 2017 (MMM17).

"Therefore, we advice the public to know their blood pressure and adopt a healthy lifestyle because your health is in your hands, it is everybody’s concern," said Ubial.

Data from the health department show that hypertension remains to be the leading cause of illness and a primary contributor to premature death in the Philippines.

Currently, more than 12 million adult Filipinos are deemed as suffering from hypertension.

"Based on national surveys, the total number of hypertensive Filipinos is now more than 12 million, with more than half of them are unaware of their condition," said Ubial.

The health official also pointed that around 200,000 deaths yearly in the country can be attributed either directly or indirectly to high blood pressure.

She said not knowing their medical conditions make such hypertensive Filipinos “walking time bombs”.

"Some of these unsuspecting hypertensive individuals are extremely at-risk and can be considered as 'walking time bombs' because anytime they can figuratively 'explode' to develop complications like massive stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney failure," said Ubial. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)

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