IF YOU think you are young and don’t need to worry about hypertension, think again.
According to the Malaysian Society of Hypertension (MSH), younger people are getting affected by high blood pressure, mainly due to poor eating habits and an unhealthy lifestyle.
MSH president Prof Datin Dr Chia Yook Chin said the increase was a worrying trend as hypertension was also the main contributor of heart attack and stroke.
“Previously, hypertension was always associated with the older generation but this no longer applies.
“Every year, the number of people with hypertension is increasing; even those in their thirties have it.
“Hypertension affects more than 32% of Malaysians aged 18 and above, according to the fourth National Health and Morbidity Survey 2011. It is a major contributor to all cardiovascular diseases,” she told reporters at the MSH 11th Annual Scientific Meeting and public forum in Kuala Lumpur.
Dr Chia said the fourth Malaysian Clinical Practise Guideline on Hypertension, which was launched at the meeting, encourages professionals such as doctors, nurses and medical assistants to measure the pressure for all patients aged 18 and above.
“If the doctor does not do it, the patient has a right to ask them to do so.”
Changing one’s lifestyle, she added, could help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and thereby reduce the chance of heart diseases.
“We are getting fatter. When it comes to obesity in Asean, we are the ‘champions’. We are the most obese and overweight in South-East Asia according to the latest statistics from the 2011 survey.
“When it comes to hypertension and coronary heart disease, prevention is definitely better than cure.”
Cardiologist and former Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin told participants that early diagnosis and treatment was vital in preventing heart disease.
“People should have a healthy lifestyle. We need to exercise and eat healthy,” he added.
He also encouraged patients to consult their doctors first instead of spending money on self-medication.
Participants at the public forum were also shown various ways to exercise and how to strengthen their muscles and heart by fitness trainers. — By FLORENCE A. SAMY