WKC Forum “Control your blood pressure: for your healthy life” in commemoration of the World Health Day

WHO Kobe Centre

7 APRIL 2013 | KOBE - In commemoration of this year's World Health Day, the WHO Centre for Health Development (WHO Kobe Centre - WKC) organized a forum “Control your blood pressure: for your healthy life” in Kobe on 7 April 2013.

Every year, World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. World Health Day is a global campaign, inviting everyone – from global leaders to the public in all countries – to focus on a single health challenge with global impact. The theme changes each year.

On the World Health Day itself, 7 April 2013, WKC and local partners focused on the global problem of high blood pressure. Though it affects one in three adults worldwide, high blood pressure remains largely hidden. Many people do not know they have high blood pressure because such does not always cause symptoms. As a result, it leads to more than nine million deaths every year, including about half of all deaths due to heart disease and stroke.

WHO/Amit Prasad

More than 40 participants came to the WKC forum from the general public and local governments to learn the risks of and to know how to prevent and control high blood pressure. The 90-minute forum highlighted the importance of promoting healthy lifestyle – reducing salt intake, having regular exercise and checking blood pressure on regular basis.

Dr Yoshio Iwashima, National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center, presented on hypertension from a medical doctor’s point of view. He defined hypertension when systolic blood pressure is equal to or above 140 mm Hg and/or a diastolic blood pressure equal to or above 90 mm Hg. Yet, in Japan, he mentioned that the blood pressure is considered to be raised or high when systolic blood pressure is equal to or above 135 mm Hg and/or a diastolic blood pressure equal to or above 85 mm Hg if it is measured at home.

Dr Iwashima emphasized that high blood pressure could increase risks of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. He also mentioned high blood pressure as a risk factor that may cause dementia. To prevent risks of high blood pressure, he stressed the importance to regularly check one’s blood pressure and to reduce salt intake as the primary prevention of heart diseases is through healthy diet and lifestyle. “It is also important to control daily stresses to reduce risks of high blood pressure”, he emphasized.

WHO Kobe Centre

Professor Hatsumi Kanzaki, Research Institute of Nursing Care for People and Community, University of Hyogo, presented the prevention and control of high blood pressure through self-care. She stressed the importance to know each person’s blood pressure. Although it is important to take medication as prescribed by a doctor, medication can be stopped in due course, based on a doctor’s advice, if high blood pressure has already been controlled and the patient is young, keeps a moderate body weight, stops drinking alcohol, has low salt intake, stops smoking or/and has no other concomitant sickness. Although it is normal to see the blood pressure being raised as one ages, Professor Kanzaki stressed the importance of having healthy diet and life habits to prevent and reduce risks of high blood pressure.

WHO/Riikka Elina Rantala

Following the presentations, Mr Yukio Motoki, Adviser for Kobelco Steelers (Kobe Steel Rugby Club), discussed hints and tips in order to have a healthy diet and lifestyle so as to enjoy sports and reduce risks of developing high blood pressure. He advised the audience to have enough water and minerals during exercise. He also mentioned the importance of stress control and advised the audience not to force themselves (Japanese context) to follow steps to reduce blood pressure as it may cause more stress. “Living a healthy and active lifestyle is key”, he stressed.

WHO/Riikka Elina Rantala

The WKC forum ended with a series of interactive exchange of information and views from the audience and the speakers on how to actualize healthy, balanced diets and healthy lifestyles on a daily basis, so as to reduce the risks of high blood pressure; and ultimately, enjoy life, as long as possible.

After the forum, “Machi no Hokenshitsu”(town health room) event was held at the venue in cooperation with the Hyogo Nursing Association. Most of forum participants joined in the blood pressure check, and actively discussed their blood pressure with and received individual health advises by nurses from the Hyogo Nursing Association.

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