As part the City of Joburg’s drive to reduce lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, it runs awareness campaigns at all its regions.
To observe World Hypertension Day on 17 May 2018, the City invited residents screening for hypertension and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and prostate cancer.
This year’s theme for World Hypertension Day is “know your numbers”. This is to create awareness around high blood pressure. Hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure. In South Africa, one out of three adults live with high blood pressure and it is responsible for one in every two strokes and two in every five heart attacks.
Hypertension is known as a “silent killer” because there are rarely any symptoms or visible signs. As a result, more than 50% of people with high blood pressure are unaware of their condition.
The City’s 81 clinics are the first point of contact for many residents seeking medical care. Uncontrolled hypertensive patients are reviewed by doctors at the clinics and are referred to higher levels of care where necessary.
From January to March 2018, the City’s clinics screened over 314 572 patients older than 40 years for hypertension.
“The City of Joburg is a caring administration that is creating an inclusive society with enhanced quality of life. The City is actively participating in ensuring that its residents are healthy,” said Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Cllr Mpho Phalatse.
MMC Phalatse said the City’s Health and Social Department urges residents to look out for signs of hypertension.
“These may include symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds but these signs and symptoms are not specific and usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage. Lifestyle conditions such as being overweight, stress, smoking and old age contribute to hypertension,” said MMC Phalatse.
The good news is hypertension can be controlled or even prevented by adopting a healthier lifestyle. Reducing fat and salt intake and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables makes a difference. Commit yourself to regular physical exercise, maintaining a healthy weights and limit alcohol intake.
The City’s Health and Social Department coordinates 5km walks to encourage members of the communities to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The City’s health promoters also give health talks in the clinics about hypertension, nutrition and physical activities.