[Press Release] Saint Lucia will join the rest of the World in observing World Hypertension Day on May 17th, 2018 under the theme “Know your numbers”.
World Hypertension Day which was first inaugurated in May of 2005 has become an annual event ever since. The purpose of the World Hypertension Day is to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer. As part of this observance, the Ministry of Health and Wellness in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Diabetes & Hypertension Association will play their part by hosting a number of activities across the island.Volunteer at the Saint Lucia Diabetes and Hypertension Association, Morgan Cyril explains.
“We have our fair at Constitution Park which is called the hypertension fair and at that fair what we are doing is, we are giving to the public a free breakfast. The reason for that is we’ve always been asking from the public so we will be giving on that day, and the other objective is that we want people to know what a healthy breakfast looks like. So we will be distributing breakfast to the public, it’s a first come first serve, when it’s done its done. Also on the day, we will be doing free blood pressure checks so you could come in we will be distributing water because water is important in the whole fight against hypertension. We want to encourage people to drink water, so we will be distributing water on that day to the public, we also have literature that we will be distributing, we also have a fitness extravaganza there will be someone from around mid-day who will be at least an hour of physical exercise and we also have some salsa for that day.”.
Cyril said breakfast will be served from 7:30 am, similar activities will take place at the JQ mall in Rodney Bay, at the Soufriere waterfront and on lower High Street in Dennery.
Meanwhile, Chief Nutritionist in the Ministry of Health Lisa Hunt-Mitchell said, a host of problems may occur if Hypertension is left untreated, some of which may include; Strokes, Heart attacks, Kidney Failure and Blindness. Treatment and lifestyle changes she said, can help control high blood pressure to reduce the risk of life-threatening complications from this modern epidemic.
“There are many things one can do to reduce their blood pressure. One can ensure that they avoid consuming alcohol, quit smoking, making sure that you cut out foods that are high in sodium or salts especially foods such as salted fish, hams, and sausages and can foods. Other things you can do is ensure you are physically active, make sure that you have a healthy diet that is balance, focus on fruits and vegetables as they are high in potassium which helps to balance the sodium and potassium in our bodies.”.
Mitchell is encouraging people to read food labels as they indicate the amount of sodium that is included in the product.