Hypertension, more commonly referred to as high blood pressure, has doubled the amount of people it affects to now over 1.1 billion people worldwide. In 1975, that number was just 594 million and now it has taken the world by storm.
The disease is a leading factor in strokes or heart disease and affects more men than women according to WebMd. Although the United States are at an all-time low for the number of people affected by hypertension, South Asia, and Africa are the areas where it affects the most. It seems as though the poorest areas and people are at risk and are affected the most.
Central and eastern Europe has had persistent numbers with people affected, while prevalence has dropped in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The largest and most steady increase has been in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa according to Medscape. Because the poorest countries don’t have many healthy food options and limited access to proper health services, hypertension has been the cause for millions of deaths.
Hypertension isn’t the only disease affecting the less fortunate countries, diabetes, cancer, and obesity also has had roles in many deaths in countries where healthcare is inaccessible or too expensive for the people to afford. According to CNN, although middle income countries have it bad too, blood pressure is a condition of poverty and not affluence.
Risk factors to hypertension include family history, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and obesity. Other factors can include high intakes of potassium and exposure to lead and pollution. It is usually treated with beta blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, and Vasodilator.
Natural ways to treat it include exercise, a low sodium diet and staying away from smoking. Your goal blood pressure should be under 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic. If your numbers are from 120-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic you are considered prehypertension. If your numbers are above 140 systolic or over 90 diastolic you may suffer from hypertension.
It’s a good idea to check your blood pressure when you get a chance whether it’s at your doctor’s office, a pharmacy or even your local grocery store. Hypertension often has no symptoms so please remember to check it when you can and if you notice a spike in numbers visit your doctor because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What do you think poverty stricken countries can do to lower their number of people affected by hypertension? Let us know in the comments!
By Rikkaya Wilson