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Jun 11, 2015

Healthy Living Looks at Hypertension Control

World Hypertension Day is celebrated annually on May seventeenth. This year, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization are urging that you pay more attention to blood pressure control. In Latin America and the Caribbean, only one in five people with hypertension manage to keep their blood pressure within normal range and today, Healthy Living looks at what you can do. 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

With every beat of the heart, blood is pumped to the rest of your body through your arteries. Blood pressure, then, is the force with which the blood pushes against the walls of the arteries.   When the pressure exceeds the normal range, it is called high blood pressure or hypertension.


Fernando Cuellar

Dr. Fernando Cuellar, Adult Internist/Intensivist

“It’s pretty much I would think of ten people that I see for the day, I’m pretty much sure that at least a three of them are related to hypertension.”


Cuellar’s experience is on par with the last survey of Diabetes, Hypertension and Chronic Disease Risk Factors conducted in 2009 in Belize which indicated a prevalence of hypertension of twenty-eight point seven percent.  What’s even more concerning? Well according to PAHO/WHO, In Latin America and the Caribbean, eighty percent of people with hypertension do not have good control. And uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to many serious complications.


Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Our organs are supplied with blood and when it’s exposed to pressure within your blood vessels being too high, it will damage them eventually.  It can cause damage to the blood vessel themselves either causing a rupture or to burst or it could cause the vessels to excessively tighten and occlude or stop the blood flow. So those are the two things we would have with blood pressure issues. Where you have sustained high blood pressure; that is the one that will definitely cause trouble in the short or medium term, it can cause heart disease, it cause brain disease, it can cause strokes or heart attack and cause kidney disease. Those are the three main organs that are impacted because of increase or elevated blood pressure. We do have people who show a pattern that their blood pressure fluctuates those are the ones who many times do not have many symptoms but eventually over the course of twenty-thirty years will begin to have trouble and I didn’t mention but eye disease is connected a lot to high blood pressure.”


There is no specific cause for hypertension, although there is a clear connection with your family history. There is also no cure. So the only way a hypertensive patient can prevent complications is proper blood pressure control.


Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“No kay how much amount of medication, how much fancy medication, how much expensive medication, how much combination of medication we use, if we no eat the correct thing and if we no exercise and try get down to we weight as we should then we di fool weself. So we talk about healthy eating avoiding salt, avoiding preservatives, eat more fruits and vegetables, the same things that we hear about over and over. And exercise. Those are the two things that your first start with and then you always try to use as least medication as possible or none. The selection of medication is what is challenging. Even the best of physicians have trouble choosing the correct one. There are many guidelines to do that. It keeps evolving. Every five years or so we get recommendations of what to use and what not to use. One of the things though is that people should be customized so to speak. So what is good for the goose is not good for the gander. What is good for X many times is not good for Y. You can’t go borrow your comrade pressure pills and think that will be good for you. You need to go and consult with your caregiver so that they can choose.”


Get your blood check regularly. Also, visit you doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms.


Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“There is generally a typical type of headache related to high blood pressure which is a mainly a headache to the back of the head or a tightness so to speak at the upper neck area. So the headache, the location of the headache the description of the headache. Dizziness, double vision changes in vision. Chest pains, shortness of breath, tingling in hands. Those are the more common blood pressure related symptoms.”


Cuellar warns that for some people, there may be no symptoms so regular blood pressure checks is advised especially if you have a family history of the condition. Most importantly, in order to prevent or keep blood pressure under control – Healthy Living is the way to go.


Dr. Fernando Cuellar

“Eat healthy and exercise.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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