Senior Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Shaun Ramroop has announced that between 5,000 and 10,000 people are currently being treated for hypertension in the BVI.
To put that into perspective, those figures represent between 16 to 33 percent of the BVI’s entire population.
Dr Ramroop said the statistics are taken from the National Health Insurance.
He shared the statistics in observance of World Heart Day celebrated on September 29.
Dr Ramroop is reminding residents that hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which occurs when blood vessels leading to the heart and brain are affected by high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
“The disease process occurs when those blood vessels get blocked. When they get blocked, blood supply may be cut off to the heart or brain which can result in a heart attack or stroke,” Dr Ramroop said.
“Anyone who is over the age of 40 should have their blood pressure checked once a year. If you are at risk or have a family history you should start in your 30s. If you have any history of having problems with your kidney, chest pain, shortness of breath, or weakness or numbness of the body seek medical intervention immediately,” he advised.
The senior physician added that care is available at all of the health centres associated with the BVI Health Services Authority. “We provide screening for high blood pressure, treatment, follow up and dietician services,” he said.
Dr Ramroop further said that despite the seriousness of cardiovascular diseases, the community needs to know these illnesses are preventable.
Simple lifestyle changes he said including diet and exercise, consuming at least one pound of fruits and vegetables daily, drinking plenty of water, avoiding tobacco use and limiting alcohol use can reduce or prevent the effects of cardiovascular diseases.
Persons can learn more about cardiovascular diseases and what they can do to lower their risk by tuning into the BVIHSA report featuring Dr Ramroop on ZBVI on October 6 and 8 at 9 am.
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