WHO: Measure your blood pressure, reduce your riskListen /
Over a billion people worldwide suffer from hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Hypertension is most prevalent in Africa where it affects up to 46 per cent of adults.
Ahead of the annual World Health Day which is marked on April 7 each year, WHO is calling for intensified efforts to prevent and control high blood pressure which is a leading cause of cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure and blindness.
WHO is of the view that when people know their blood pressure level, they can take steps to control it and reduce the risk of developing other health complications.
Dr Shanthi Mendis from WHO explains how people can cut the risks of high blood pressure.
"Most of the time there are no symptoms until you get complications. And this means that people have to know their numbers. People must make an effort particularly after the age of 40 to go and get their blood pressure measured because with age blood pressure tends to go up gradually. By making sure that your behavior in relation to certain risk factors are the correct ones particularly taking less salt in the diet, eating more fruits and vegetables that contain anti oxidants and potassium, reducing harmful use of alcohol, taking adequate physical activity to maintain your weight and also making sure that you do not eat too much that you put on weight: all these factors contribute to preventing high blood pressure."
WHO's campaign to encourage people to measure their blood pressure is a response to the United Nations Declaration on Noncommunicable Diseases which was adopted by Heads of State and Government in September 2011.
Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva