World Health Day – Focus on Hypertension

By: Alere Staff
Publication Date: Sat, Mon, 04/01/2013

World Health Day – Focus on Hypertension

World Health Day, celebrated on April 7th, marks the anniversary of the founding of WHO (World Health Organization) in 1948. Every year WHO selects a theme to celebrate World Health day to highlight an area of public health concern in the world. This year’s theme is high blood pressure or hypertension.

A WHO report, World Health Statistics 2012 Report, shows that one in three adults worldwide has raised blood pressure.1 This condition is shown to cause around half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease.

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. As your heart beats, it pumps out blood into your arteries. Your blood pressure can be read using two numbers, the systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic pressure is when you heart beats, pumping the blood. When your heart is at rest, between beats, this is when your blood pressure falls; called diastolic pressure.

  • Normal blood pressure is around 120/80 or lower – <120 systolic and <80 diastolic2
  • High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher – 140-159 systolic and 90-99 diastolic2

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, high blood pressure usually has no symptoms. If left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can cause irregularities of the heartbeat, stroke, or heart failure.

High blood pressure can be treated with lifestyle changes and if needed, taking medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends some lifestyle changes:

  • Exercise often and be physically active
  • Eat a healthy diet, especially foods low in salt
  • Lose weight or keep weight at healthy level
  • Do not smoke
  • Limit stress or learn how to manage your stress level

If lifestyle changes do not change your blood pressure much, your doctor may determine that a blood pressure medication is right for you. There are many different types of blood pressure medications; some remove extra fluid and salt from the body, while others slow down the heartbeat or relax and widen blood vessels.

Blood pressure medication may interact with warfarin, so if you are taking warfarin, please talk to your doctor about your medication and potential interactions.

Increasing testing frequency is recommended when starting or stopping any new medication or dietary supplement. Home INR monitoring will help improve your control of warfarin. More frequent testing, typically performed by patient self testing, is a valuable tool for detecting rises and falls in INR values and enable you to work with your doctor to make any adjustments to diet or medication dosing.1 Go to the Getting Started page or call Alere at 1.800.504.4032 for more information about testing your INR at home.

  1. World Health Statistics 2012 Report. World Health Organization. www.who.int. 2012.
  2. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/detect/categ.htm. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
  3. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Decision Memo for Prothrombin Time (INR) Monitor for Home Anticoagulation Management (CAG-00087R) [Memorandum]. 2008. Baltimore, MD.