07 April, 2013

Cure for Silent Killer ‘Hypertension’ is better lifestyle

Children's Health Conference in Islamabad 

Sana Jamal

Exposing the face of society’s silent killer in their revealing and detailed speeches, the brilliant kids at the Children's Health Conference in Islamabad, seemed more knowledgeable about hypertension than the adults sitting in the audience. Adopting a healthy lifestyle with emphasis on proper nutrition, reducing salt and total fat intake, eating fruit and vegetables a day and regular physical activity can help beat the silent killer, informed the children. 

President Hamdard Foundation Sadia Rashid, VC Hamdard University Hakeem Abdul Manan
and Prof Abdul Hafeez Chaudhry with participants of Children Health Conference.

While it was an informative session for parents and adult visitors; it was quite an enriching experience for the scores of students attending the conference. The convention was organized by Hamdard Foundation Pakistan and Hamdard Public School to mark the World Health Day by holding 22nd International Children's Health Conference – a tradition set by Shaheed Hakim Moammad Saeed. Hypertension or high blood pressure is World Health Organization’s theme for this year's World Health Day as hypertension is considered responsible for more than 7.5 million deaths every year - almost 13% of all global deaths. More than one in three adults worldwide have raised blood pressure now, as per World health statistics 2012 report. 

What makes things worse is the fact that “while almost 40% of the world population is hypertensive, only half of them are aware of it!” told Sadia Rashid, President of Hamdard Foundation while addressing the young students. Being aware of hypertension can be tricky, she went on to say, “There are no warning signs or symptoms of high blood pressure and this is why it is called the “silent killer” because people often don’t realize they have it.” She believed that children can make a big difference in improving the stark statistics marked by the killer disease. “Improve your lifestyle, make sure to continue it in adulthood and also spread awareness among your family members” she suggested.
The kids informed that sometimes hypertension causes symptoms such as headache, dizziness, chest pain, palpitations of the heart and nose bleeds. However, most people with hypertension have no symptoms at all. The higher the blood pressure, the higher the risk of damage to the heart and blood vessels in major organs such as the brain and kidneys and if neglected, hypertension can lead to a heart attack, an enlargement of the heart and ultimately heart failure.

Islamic lifestyle was suggested as one of the best to keep hypertension at bay. “Daily meditation, fasting, eating slowly, being patient, habits of sharing and caring can help control blood pressure” advised Syed Hassan, a student speaker from Iran. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Kazi, WHO representative, Dr.Abdul Hannan, Vice President of Hamdard University and Prof Abdul Hafeez Chaudhry, General Secretary of Pakistan Hypertension League, also spoke on the occasion. 

 Dr. Kazi nformed that high blood pressure is both preventable and treatable; and the old adage, 'Prevention is better than cure' is especially true for high blood pressure. Impressed by the speeches of the kids, Prof Hafeez said that he has decided to involve children in all public awareness programs. He asked the kids to continue regular physical activities such as walking, cycling, helping their mothers in house chores, and to walk up stairs rather than standing in lift. 

 Foreign student delegates at the conference included Muhammad Irtiza Masroor (Bangladesh), Astrid Nadyd Rizqitta (Indonesia), Syed Hassan Salehpur (Iran), Nawaf Hassan Al-Zahrani (Saudi Arabia) and Sara Muaawia and Omer Mahmood, both from Sudan. Pakistani delegates were Abdullah Asif and Qaiser Nawaz from Islamabad; Ayesha Tariq and Soban Karim from Peshawar; Syed Sohaib and Areej Irfan from Lahore; Babar Ali and Nashrah Ahmed from Karachi.