Monitor blood pressure, maintain levels to live longer

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dr. Eka Harmeiwaty, Sp
dr. Eka Harmeiwaty, Sp. (Source: HARAPAN KITA HOSPITAL)

Jakarta, IO – WHO commemorates World Hypertension Day globally on 17 May every year. This year, the theme of “Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer” is the chosen motto, since the prevalence of hypertension across the globe, including in Indonesia, has changed little over the past three decades. An Indonesian Society of Hypertension (“InaSH”) 2018 Survey shows that out of the 68,846 respondents with an age average of 45 years, 27,331 (30.8%) suffer from hypertension. Among these sufferers, only 13,018 (47.6%) of them are aware that they have the condition, and even though 47.4 % of sufferers take medication, 10,106 patients (78%) fail to reach their medication targets. 

“Blood pressure changes as we age. Ideally, the level should be 120/90 mmHg. Upper (systolic) blood pressure tends to rise after the age of 50, while lower (diastolic) blood pressure goes the other direction after the age of 60. Both sufferers and non-sufferers of hypertension should control their blood pressure, to lower risk of catching cardiovascular diseases. The increase of blood pressure per 20/10 mm Hg increments, starting from 115/75 mmHg, is strongly related to a doubled increase of risk of death by heart attack,” warned dr. Erwinanto, Sp.JP(K), FIHA, FAsCC, Chairman of the InaSH and Consultant Cardiologist and Vascular Specialist from Hasan Sadikin Hospital Bandung, in a virtual media meet held on Tuesday (17/05/2022). 

A way to help reduce hypertension-related risks is by regularly checking one’s own blood pressure from the age of 18, especially for people with a family history of hypertension or cardiovascular illness. There are two types of blood pressure measurements available: aneroid and oscillometric. Sphygmomanometers nowadays don’t use mercury, because it is dangerous for people and the environment. Instead, find one with a cuff that fits around your upper arm, not your wrist. Before attempting a measurement, do not smoke or drink coffee. Also avoid conversation before, during and between measurements. 

“Check your blood pressure at home independently (Home Blood Pressure Monitoring) every morning and afternoon, seven days in a row. Perform measurements twice in each session, with an interval of 1-2 minutes. Your blood pressure is determined from the average of these measures, except on the first day. A 7-day average of 135/85 mmHg or higher indicates hypertension. HBPM will allow you to detect ‘white-coat hypertension’, which is having high blood pressure measurement when it is measured in a hospital or other medical facility, but normal blood pressure at home. HBPM also helps patients to better abide by their medication routine,” dr. Erwinanto said.