Hypertension: not a disease to take lightly

Hypertension is the number one risk factor for illness and premature death from cardiovascular disease, and one of the most common non-communicable diseases in the Caribbean region.

“This disease may go undetected, so getting checked every year is important, so that you are not at risk for complications. In the Caribbean, most people with ‘pressure’ already know it, so equally important is for someone diagnosed to take it seriously and stay on their preventive treatment and lifestyle plan”, remarked Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), in observance of World Hypertension Day 2018.

Usually symptomless, unrecognised and untreated, hypertension can cause serious health problems such as heart failure, stroke and kidney damage.  Although the prevalence of hypertension usually rises with age, the disease is preventable and treatable.

The factors which contribute to hypertension are like those of the other major chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity and diabetes. These factors include unhealthy diet, high salt intake, obesity, inadequate physical activity and excessive use of alcohol.

“Hypertension, if not addressed in a timely fashion, can have significant economic and social impact.  Combined and coordinated efforts at local, national, regional, and global levels are needed to increase awareness of the dangers of high blood pressure and address the risk factors associated with this silent killer,” stated Dr. Hospedales.  He stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle at all ages. This includes:

  • the reduction of salt intake,
  • a diet rich in fruits and vegetables,
  • exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight.

It is important to note that the higher your blood pressure, the more work your heart does.   Check your blood pressure numbers regularly to be assured of good health.  If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, it’s important to stay on the treatment prescribed by your doctor or health provider, especially if you have other risks like diabetes, high cholesterol, or are a smoker.

“Know your numbers” is the theme for World Hypertension Day 2018.  Its purpose is to raise awareness worldwide about the importance of knowing your blood pressure measurement.

World Hypertension Day is observed every May 17th in order to raise awareness and promote hypertension detection and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer, a modern epidemic.

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  1. roy
    May 18, 2018

    One of the many diseases that are prevalent in black people. The cause of which can be traced back to a vitamin D3 deficiency in most cases.
    Primarily we get Vitamin D3 from the action of sunlight on the skin. But because we are dark in colour we are not very efficient at producing this MIRACULOUS vitamin (really a hormone) in the body. Plus we tend to avoid the sun and stay indoors at our desks etc.
    Vitamin D is a master hormone which regulates many of the body’s functions which keep us healthy.
    Besides the sun Vitamin D can be gotten from certain foods but those foods don’t give us the amount we need. So we should get it from supplements – tablets. 1000ius (international units) plus is needed daily for good health.
    By all means, cut down on the refined carbohydrates, sugar and salt etc but vitaminD3 is definitely a must when tackling these diseases.

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      May 19, 2018

      Roy, you keep talking the same nonsense over and over: Vitim D3 has everything to do with the exoskeleton (bone) in every human Black and white and other: Perhaps this will help educate you!

      The skin produces cholecalciferol, which is an inactive form of vitamin D3. When modified cholesterol molecules in epidermal cells are exposed to ultraviolet radiation. This compound then enters the blood via the dermal capillaries, is modified in the liver, and becomes fully activated in the kidney.

      The active form of vitamin D3 (1,25-dihydroxycholecaliferol or 1,25 (OH D3) is an essential part of the carrier system that intestinal cells use absorb Ca2+ from the diet. Without this vitamin, the bones become week and soft!

      It is one thing to talk (sot) it is something else to know!

      Unless you have some knowledge in health science, and medicine you need to stop writing nonsense! Consult any medical professional, doctor present this to and say Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque told you,…

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        May 19, 2018


        Let me educate you just a bit more: The small intestine absorbs dietary vitamins, the large intestine absorbs some of the K and B vitamins made by its enteric bacterial (shall I say guests). We know fart-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K dissolve in dietary fat, and  become incorporated into the micelles, and move across the villus epithelium by passive diffusion.

        it follows that gulping pills containing fat-soluble vitamins without simultaneously eating some fat-containing food results in little or no absorption of these vitamins. Most water-soluble vitamins; B vitamins and vitamin C are absorbed easily by diffusion; the exception is vitamin B12 (that should be written in subscript:) nevertheless; which is a very large, charged molecule.

        Vitamin B12 binds to intrinsic factor, produced by the stomach. The vitamin B12-  intrinsic factor complex then binds to specific mucosal receptor sites in the terminal ileum, which trigger its endocytosis.

      • We know fart-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K dissolve in dietary fat, and  become incorporated into the micelles, and move across the villus epithelium by passive diffusion.

         “We know fart-soluble vitamins”

        Sorry that should read “fat-soluble.”(FET).

      • roy
        May 21, 2018

        Francisco, It is all well and good describing the physiology surrounding VD3, which, by the way, I know. But what you have demonstrated is that your knowledge of the action of this Vitamin on the body is very limited.
        We know that it helps with calcium absorption – best with VitaminK. We know that its deficiency contributes to softening of the bones. We know that it is a fat-soluble vitamin.
        What you don’t seem to know is that this vitamin is also responsible for regulating many other important functions in the body.
        I won’t be that rude to say that you are talking nonsense (sot). But I DON’T NEED YOU TO EDUCATE ME
        I do urge you, and everyone else who reads this, to do some research. Go on the web and pose the question: What are the effects of Vitamin D deficiency on people – especially black people?

  2. Convince me
    May 18, 2018

    One thing he forgot to mention is stress. I never had any of the other causes of hypertension but I grew up in a stressful envinoment and I was also fed properly. I have never been over weight in my life. Never had diabetes. Take regular check ups. Is an active person but I have highblood pressure over two decades now. I take my medication regularly. I can only put it down to stress. Your state of mind is VERY impotant. My doctir from early days told me that I have pressure in a ‘bad’ way. Anxisty and continuous stress raise my pressure
    People please check your pressure regularly.

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      May 18, 2018

      “Note: hypertension is not a single disease entity in the usual sense; nevertheless, it is a major indicator of the prognosis for future development of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and renal disease.” (FET).

      Stress, could actually trigger the disease; however, that is not the major contributing factor: if that was the case, everybody living in North America, and all over Europe would have the disease; because life is persistently hectic on every single day!

      In my briefs, I did not go into heredity, and  genetics traits, if one is predisposed to hypertension, there is nothing they can do to prevent it; except treat it medically, and be regimental about your medication; but stress may have less to do with it.

      I tell what: I am retired, want of nothing, I do not stress over money or anything in life. Some days for no apparent reason it goes high. On another day, it starts dropping sometimes I like 80/60. When it gets like that I know how to get it back in range.

  3. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    May 18, 2018

    I will do this in perhaps four or five segments:

    Hypertension is persistently “high blood pressure.” In adults it is stipulated that a blood pressure is abnormally high when the systolic pressure is equal to or greater than 140 mm Hg and the diastolic pressure is equal to or greater than 90 mm Hg.

    A diagnosis of hypertension must be based on a series of measurements rather than a single measurement that could be caused, or influenced by an emotional state or physical activity. Note: hypertension is not a single disease entity in the usual sense; nevertheless, it is a major indicator of the prognosis for future development of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and renal disease.

    Numerous medical scientific studies indicate that a diastolic pressure above 90 mm Hg reduces life expectancy in all persons, and of all age, and both sex; studies have shown that elevation in ones systolic pressure is very dangerous, and most definitely can lead to cardiovascular disease the same as…

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      May 18, 2018


      (and most definitely can lead to cardiovascular disease the same as an elevated diastolic pressure).

      Whereas hypotension does not mean instant death; if anything it could mean longer life. Nevertheless, hypertension is a major threat to life, and human health. It is estimated that one in every six persons are hypertensive. Though the disease  primarily affects men over thirty-five years old, and women over forty-five years old; it is not limited to older people. During screening for the disease in clinics, hypertension was found in an increasing number of teenagers.

      It is estimated that between two and six per cent of adolescents have persistent  blood pressure  elevations. Prevalence rates for prepubertal children have reported to be as high as one percent. It is believed that hypertension is more prevalent in black people than whites by an overall ratio of two to one!

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      May 18, 2018


      I will conclude this by concentrating on malignant, or  accelerated hypertension which is a particularly severe form of essential hypertension. A diastolic pressure of 130 to 170 mm Hg are not unusual in such patients; the most common symptoms are morning headache, blurred vision, dyspnea, which is related to early pulmonary edema, and symptoms of uremia, including elevated blood urea nitrogen, and serum creatinine levels.

      Malignant hypertension is treated as a medical emergency as soon as it is diagnosed because it can be fatal if not treated immediately. It  causes progressive damage to blood vessels in the kidney, and can cause cerebral hemorrhage. With proper care malignant hypertension can be kept under control for years. Without adequate or proper treatment it is often fatal within two years.

      A balance diet and exercise and loosing weight is not a medical clinical answer to deal with hypertension, it takes more than that to deal with hypotension!

  4. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    May 17, 2018

    “This disease may go undetected, so getting checked every year is important, so that you are not at risk for complications. ”

    You know it is ridiculous to tell someone to check every year! It would be better if you advised that everyone should immediately visit a doctor to check to  find out  if they are a potential candidate for hypertension, or if they are not already suffering from hypertension.

    The matter is simple, anybody should be able to simply walk into the any government clinic on the island and have a nurse check their blood pressure any time of the day; that takes less than five minuets. If one’s systolic pressure is 120 ml of mercury (mm Hg) and the diastolic is  than 80 mm Hg, or 120/80 Hg that range is normal.

    If it is 140/90  or higher that is an indication of the individual suffering from hypertension. A blood pressure machine is not very expensive, there should be one in every home, and testing should be done regularly.

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      May 17, 2018

       “maintaining a healthy style This includes:

      the reduction of salt intake,
      a diet rich in fruits and vegetables,
      exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight.”
      Admin, I am going to say something, and this not an attack on anybody medical opinion, but if that in the quote above was true high blood pressure would long be eradicated.

      In the first place, there is no documented medical cause of neither hypotension, or hypertension. reduction in salt helps, but is not a cure, this thing about fruits and vegetables is a wonder!

      There are people weighing 135Lbs who has chronic high blood pressure.

      When one exercise it rises their blood pressure; talking a hot shower rises ones blood pressure, and that is a scientific fact. When one is diagnosed with high blood pressure, they had better find an effective blood pressure medication to keep them alive.

      Just a little over a year, high blood pressure ruptured one of my sons aorta valve, months later he died of a heart attack…

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        May 18, 2018

        I did not want to revisit this; but perhaps we all remember the late prime minister Roosevelt Rosie Douglas, the one and only, who died because most of his internal organs ruptured, including his Esophagus; that was due to untreated hypertension (high blood pressure.)

        Normally, diabetes is accompanied by high blood pressure: So if one who is hyperglycemic (Diabetic) also has hypertension, is advised to eat fruits and vegetables, the doctor might be sentencing his/her patient to death, because simple as it is fruits do contain lots of sugar.

        Carrots are all sugar, as soon as fruits, and starchy food are eaten they brake down into carbohydrate, and soon become glucose, ultimately taken up by the liver, which stores it as glycogen, so even if someone like me, who is a chronic diabetic, with occasional high blood pressure, take such an advise, I might find myself dead, while I am eating fruits and vegetables to prevent high blood pressure!

        People listen to Dr. Merlin Kelsick on Q…

  5. Not a nurse
    May 17, 2018

    Big girls and huge thighs are valued here. Just because you can carry it well doesn’t mean it’s healthy…

    • The One Of A Kind
      May 18, 2018

      Really???? So I guess you want everyone to be a stick??

  6. Not a doctor
    May 17, 2018

    When I see a plate that is full of white food… Ie rice, macaroni, dasheen, potatoes and a little bit of vegetables and meat / fish… I know that’s going to cause problems of one sort or another… Please do the necessary to take care of yourself..vegetables should cover a third or a half of your plate, white stuff on the other third and fish, beans, peas, lentils, meat or whatever on the other third… .

    • The One Of A Kind
      May 18, 2018

      Nope. As I always say, you only live once. I’d rather die at 50 if it means i can enjoy what I eat.

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