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(GIS) – World Hypertension Day was first inaugurated in May 2005, to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer.
As part of this observance, the Ministry of Health and Wellness in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Diabetes and Hypertension Association will, on May 17, host a number of activities across the island.
Morgan Cyril, a volunteer at the Saint Lucia Diabetes and Hypertension Association, said there will be free breakfast giveaways and other free services.
“There will be a fair at Constitution Park called the hypertension fair, and we will be giving to the public a free breakfast starting at 7:30 a.m. We’ve always been asking from the public, so we will be giving back on that day. The other objective is that we want people to know what a healthy breakfast looks like. We will distribute on a first come first serve basis until the breakfast samples are done. Also, we will be doing free blood pressure checks, and distributing water because water is important in the fight against hypertension. There will also be a fitness extravaganza from midday, for about an hour, and some salsa classes.”
Similar activities will take place at the JQ Mall in Rodney Bay, at the Soufriere waterfront, and on lower High Street in Dennery.
Meanwhile, Chief Nutritionist in the Ministry of Health, Lisa Hunt-Mitchell said, a host of problems may occur if hypertension is left untreated, some of which may include stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness. Treatment and lifestyle changes she said, can help control high blood pressure to reduce the risk of life-threatening complications.
“There are many things one can do to reduce blood pressure: avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and food that are high in sodium or salts,” she said. “Physical activity and a healthy diet is also important.”
The Chief Nutritionist encourages people to read food labels as they indicate the amount of sodium that is included in the product.