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May 17, 2022

Risk Factors of High Blood Pressure

Generally, the standard for “normal” blood pressure is one-twenty over eighty. But the data shows that high blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. Referred to as the silent killer, hypertension and by extension heart disease are among the leading causes of mortality with three hundred and twenty-nine deaths over the last five years.  So what are the risk factors of high blood pressure and how can you identify it?


Robyn Daly

Robyn Daly, Nutritionist, Ministry of Health & Wellness

“We do have a high prevalence of hypertension here in Belize. It is one of the highest cases of mortality and morbidity for the country. As you may know, we look at the risk factors that promote hypertension so persons that are overweight or obese is a risk factor; having a diet high in sodium is a risk factor, also limited physical activity – nutrition plays a very big role so what you eat, consuming alcoholic drinks, having drinks with caffeine, these are all things that increase blood pressure. So if people are more aware of these things, we believe that it can help us to reduce prevalence for hypertension. We normally have these services available where people can check their blood pressure, but what we have started to do now more often is to incorporate it at our health events, our health fairs, our different activities where we interact with the general public. We try to do where we measure numbers so person can check their weight to see where they are. We always have blood pressure measurements available at the vaccination sites, at different testing sites – people have access to these – and we want people to use them more because hypertension is known as the silent killer. So many times your blood pressure is high; some people have effects and others don’t. So many persons might even know their blood pressure is high. Some common symptoms are people who complain of headaches, tightness in the back of their neck; sometimes their left arm, chest pains – these are just some common symptoms people would have when their blood pressure is high. Mind you that many persons don’t have any symptoms at all and their blood pressure is very high. So we just educate a lot on things that would raise your blood pressure and lifestyle factors that would raise your blood pressure and try to ask people to become more conscious.”


Other activities for this year include countrywide blood pressure and body mass testing, and sharing of salt reduction tips. 

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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