Wed | Aug 15, 2018

Hypertension: The ticking time bomb

Published:Wednesday | April 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Dawn Hastings

Imagine going about your routine trip to the market, then suddenly you're overcome with dizziness, your limbs start to go weak, and you can't speak. With home nowhere in sight, all alone in the busy market, you're having a stroke.

This could have been the eventual fate of one Manchester resident, Dawn Hastings, a 67-year-old domestic helper who thought she was fit as a fiddle.

Imagine Dawn's surprise when she was actually diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Having diverted from her routine trip to the market one day, Hastings stopped at the Jamaica Moves Road Tour (Manchester leg) to get her eyes and heart tested.

With the focus on getting Jamaicans to know their health status, each road tour starts at 12 noon with free medical check-ups and dental clinic offered by the National Health Fund (NHF). Individuals, in their numbers, are screened for non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and chronic respiratory diseases. In addition to blood pressure checks, blood sugar, cholesterol, haemoglobin and BMI.

"I was at the market and saw the Jamaica Moves people and decided to go and do the eye and heart tests. It was raining, so I didn't get to do those tests. But instead, I ended up doing the blood pressure and cholesterol tests and that's how I found out," said Hastings.

FAMILY HISTORY

Hastings, who revealed she has a family history of both conditions, now has to get monthly check-ups to monitor her blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

"After I was diagnosed at the Jamaica Moves event, I was advised to go to the nearest health clinic because of how high my results were. And when I finally got to the clinic two weeks later and was tested again, the results were even higher," she said.

She has since started treatments and has had an increase in the dosage of tablets prescribed to her due to the high levels of her results.

"I am very grateful for the road tour that came to Manchester, and I am so happy I found out about it in time so that I could attend. Because I could be walking around with them and never know even mi did have them," she shared.

IMPORTANT FACTS

• High cholesterol is the leading cause of heart attacks, severe chest pains and blocked coronary arteries.

• A buildup of 'bad' cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL), can cause gallstones and strokes.

• Jamaican data have shown that an excess of LDL or high cholesterol can contribute to other cardiovascular diseases, which accounts for 34.8 per cent of all deaths in Jamaicans over five years old.

• Similarly, uncontrolled high blood pressure may lead to weak or damaged brain blood vessels, blood clots in the arteries, leading to your brain blocking blood flow and potentially causing a stroke.

• Jamaica Moves is the country's coordinated national response to the increased incidences of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

n Through education, engagement and the building of supportive environments, the programme hopes to reduce NCDs by 25 per cent by the year 2025.

• To date, the Jamaica Moves programme has been gaining national attention since its launch.

• The road tour, which kicked off in the county of Cornwall, has so far made stops in Trelawny, St James, Hanover, Westmoreland, St Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon, St Mary, St Thomas, Kingston and St Andrew.