Hypertension: A Silent Killer

Did you know that high blood pressure, or hypertension, is the most common diagnosis for office-based doctor visits in Canada? Over one-quarter of the Canadian population has hypertension, and 90% of adults will develop high blood pressure if they live to an average lifespan. Because hypertension may not be recognized or felt by an individual, it is commonly called the silent killer. The risk for stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, and congestive heart failure increases with increased high blood pressure. Furthermore, it is estimated that almost 1 in 3 Canadians have high blood pressure due to a high sodium diet. The recommended daily Adequate Intake (AI) for sodium is 1200 – 1500 for healthy adults, decreasing with age, although the average Canadian consumes 3100 mg/day! Almost 80% of dietary sodium comes from salt and sodium additives in processed or restaurant foods. Lifestyle modification, especially dietary intervention can help prevent and control this silent killer. Lowering sodium consumption can decrease the prevalence of hypertension by 30%.

Blood Pressure Canada (BPC) is a national, volunteer, not-for-profit organization with a mandate to increase awareness about hypertension so as to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Canada through prevention and control of high blood pressure. BPC produces various resources for patients and the public to help better understand and manage hypertension: http://hypertension.ca/bpc/resource-center/educational-tools-for-health-care-professionals/

These are some of the resources available:
– A 4-page pamphlet on general information about high blood pressure
– A brochure summarizing the key messages for understanding hypertension prevention and control.
– A more detailed document on how to correctly measure your blood pressure at home.
– A 4-page pamphlet for diabetic patients with high blood pressure
– 1-page summary highlighting the key steps in measuring your blood pressure at home.
– A table to assist you to record and keep your blood pressure readings
For those of you interested in audio-visual information, a public education video entitled “hypertension; the silent killer” is also available on the website at: http://hypertension.ca/video/

If you interested in improving the quality of your life by better educating yourself about this silent killer, please visit the Blood Pressure Canada website http://hypertension.ca/bpc/ or contact the Coordinator, Selina Allu at [email protected] or (403) 210-6235.