Approximately 360,000 people aged between 18 and 39 in Taiwan have high blood pressure (hypertension), Health Promotion Administration statistics showed, and about two-thirds of them are not aware of it.
On World Hypertension Day yesterday, the administration released data from its Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan 2013-2015, which showed that hypertension affected 24.1 percent of people aged 18 or older, meaning that about one in four, or 4.62 million, people in the age group have high blood pressure.
While hypertension most often occurs in middle-aged or elderly people, the survey showed that the prevalence in young people — aged 18 to 39 — was 4.7 percent, or about 360,000 people.
“Among the estimated 360,000 [young] people with hypertension, two-thirds were not aware of it and three-fourths did not control their blood pressure properly,” HPA Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said, adding that only about 13 percent measured their blood pressure in the past year.
“Young people tend to enjoy rich food, thus increasing their risk of developing heart or kidney disease, or having a stroke,” she said.
Chiou said that 36,595 people died of heart disease, cerebral stroke or other cardiovascular diseases, last year, with about one in every 4.5 deaths caused by cardiovascular disease associated with hypertension, while diabetes and kidney disease — other common causes of death — are also associated with high blood pressure.
HPA surveys showed that people with high blood pressure are respectively 1.93, 1.66 and 2.84 times more likely to develop heart disease, kidney disease or have a stroke than people with normal blood pressure.
A telephone survey conducted by the agency last year showed that less than 50 percent of people aged between 18 and 39 knew the blood pressure values that define hypertension.
As the theme for World Hypertension Day this year was “Know Your Numbers,” Chiou said the agency encourages people 18 or older to measure their blood pressure at least once per year, consult a doctor if their blood pressure is above 140 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) systolic and 90mmHg diastolic.
Remember not to talk, hold back urine, cross your legs or allow the blood pressure cuff to be below the heart, and keep your upper body straight and feet flat on the floor when measuring blood pressure, she added.
The HPA urged people to stick to a low-sodium diet with no more than 2.4g per day, avoid preserved or processed food, maintain a healthy body weight and regularly exercise to help prevent hypertension.
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