It’s not just a single aspect that makes the issue of hypertension among UAE population a matter of concern. There are multiple urgencies. Not only has the percentage of people suffering from hypertension nearly doubled in six years — the 14.7 per cent rate of 2010 is nudging 28.8 per cent today — there is also the fact that it is striking more and more younger people. Most people in the age group of 30-44 years in the UAE suffer from the health condition earlier compared to the international average. What is more, high blood pressure is being detected even among the 20-30 year-olds. With hypertension’s direct causal link to cardiovascular diseases and stroke, these numbers are alarming enough to have prompted the UAE to issue updated guidelines for residents, which call for anyone above the age of 30 to get screened for blood pressure readings.
It is not for nothing that hypertension is termed the silent killer. Its symptoms and effect are usually felt when it has long crossed the borderline numbers and entered into the high numbers territory. By then, the body has borne the brunt of poor diet, lack of exercise and stress management and the individual has been primed by the condition to be put on medication, often for their lifetime.
There are two important challenges that accompany the rising cases of hypertension: an individual’s wilful lack of attention to the dangers of high blood pressure, and their reluctance to get screened for the condition early on.
It’s not for nothing, again, that hypertension is also termed a lifestyle disease. Sedentariness, poor eating habits, smoking, alcohol consumption and stress hoarding can bring it on and a disciplined lifestyle, which is the opposite of all these, can keep it in check for a lifetime.
There are two important challenges that accompany the rising cases of hypertension: an individual’s wilful lack of attention to the dangers of high blood pressure, and their reluctance to get screened for the condition early on. The onus to meet both lies with the people themselves. Let’s face it: hypertension is no rare condition. Almost every family on the planet has someone who has it. In the public domain too, there is an ever-growing mountain of information on what causes high BP and how to combat it. So, really, there is no excuse for remaining unaware of it until it is too late.
The UAE’s updated hypertension guidelines seek to turn back the clock at a critical juncture — pre-emptive screenings born of awareness — and are yet another timely reminder for everyone to take charge of their own health, at the right time.