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Hypertension as silent killer, awareness pursued in Zambo

High blood pressure (hypertension) is on the spotlight this month of May as the Department of Health (DOH)-9 aims to heighten awareness and understanding of this serious medical condition among the general public specifically in Zamboanga Peninsula region.

Hypertension or elevated blood pressure is the number one cause of premature death in the Philippines and despite the use of multiple platforms in amplifying the awareness on hypertension in the region; many still lack information.

Lack of knowledge and the apathy to hypertension are the gaps needed to be addressed. Thus, DOH-9 convened and invited media practitioners in the forum of “Ka-Heartner campaign” in celebration of the hypertension awareness month.

The Ka-Heartner campaign aims to increase the public’s awareness of this type of health condition, capacitate the decision-making skills of the high-risk population, and champion timely health-seeking behavior of the community.

“We aim to expand the consciousness and knowledge of the people about the considerable risks and prevention protocols of hypertension,” said Dr. Augusto Manolo Alpichi, medical officer of DOH-9 during the forum.

Based on the Field Health Services Information System (FHSIS) statistics in 2019, there were 32,861 individuals diagnosed as hypertensive and 372 mortalities recorded due to hypertension in the region.

"With the help of the media here, we could easily spread this awareness, as hypertension does not choose time and day to trigger," Dr. Alpichi added.

Hypertension is preventable

This serious medical condition increases the risks to stroke, heart failure, kidney, brain, and does not display exact symptoms. This can affect anyone at anytime but this is preventable!

The DOH-9 advised the public to go for a health screening and if found hypertensive, start the prevention immediately because even if blood pressure is controlled, it can still be triggered.

“Prevention should always start in ourselves and this disease should pay enough attention and not be disregarded,” DOH-9 Medical Officer IV Dr. Roland I. Bucoy affirmed.

Hypertension is a problem in the region. As per the FHSIS record in 2019, the number of hypertensive individuals is high among women but mortality rate due to hypertension is high among men.

Data showed that there were 18,258 females diagnosed as hypertensive over 14,603 males. On the other hand, there were 198 males and 174 females who died respectively due to hypertension.

As part of the preventive measures, the DOH-9 provides hypertension medicines to all the health centers in the region every quarter as well as the central office augments the provision of medicines.

“Hypertension is a highly preventable illness, we can spare our lifetime without getting the disease,” Medical Officer V of DOH-Central Office Dr. Rosalind G. Vianzon said in the forum.

For more precautionary measures on hypertension and for a healthy Pilipinas, the public is welcome to access the link

Hypertension is multifactorial

Medical experts say that having diagnosed with elevated blood pressure is multifactorial – it could be hereditary and our current lifestyle.

Individuals whose both parents are hypertensive have greater risks of developing this condition and the lousy lifestyle would contribute to have an above normal blood pressure.

Dr. Lowe L. Chiong, Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) Cardiologist advised the public to really avoid having a lousy routine such as lack of exercise, improper food diet, extreme drink of liquors, and smoking, among others because hypertension does not exhibit signs.

“Hypertension is a silent killer! Once our blood pressures reach to 120, they are considered to be symptomatic,” ZCMC Cardiologist Chiong said.

The doctor also advised before taking blood pressures, patients should be well rested and did not smoke.

"With this, management strategy is also multifactorial, as we need enough exercise, healthy diet and to take prescribed medicines consistently (if diagnosed as hypertensive)."

More so, people should be aware of how many calories they eat and drink each day that may help lower blood pressure.

“Diet plays an important role in preventing hypertension and we always encourage individuals to eat healthy food,” ZCMC Nutrionist Dietician V, Ma. Dolores Paredes said.

People should be reminded with the three principles to attain healthy diet; balance, variety, and moderation.

Media as influencers

In pursuit to have an intensified information drive against hypertension in the region, media practitioners are involved to help the dissemination of rightful information to the public.

“Media has the influence and expertise to share right information on hypertension. Wrong information will not help in preventing this illness and eventually our lives would be at risk,” Dr. Rosalind G. Vianzon stressed.

One of the goals is to really inform the younger generations and to empower them to have a healthy lifestyle, as they are also vulnerable to be afflicted by the illness.

“We need you (media) to fight wrong information about hypertension and we are so thankful for the support in pursuit to Healthy Pilipinas,” Dr. Vianzon said. (RVC/EDT/JRA/PIA9-Zamboanga City)

About the Author

Jayson Aucensillo

Job Order

Region 9

Jayson R. Aucensillo is a Public Information Assistant and acting Regional Executive Secretary to the Regional Director. The focal person of the Ivolunteers Network in Zamboanga Peninsula that comprises school leaders of different states, colleges and universities. 

He is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Development Communication (DevCom) major in Peace Journalism and an advocate of LGBT+ rights. He is also a developmental journalist who writes about the works of the government.

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