Matters of the HEART
February is recognized as Heart Month in Jamaica.
Conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension), heart failure, coronary artery disease or heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease are conditions affecting the circulatory system called cardiovascular diseases. These conditions are the leading cause of death worldwide and Jamaica is no exception. High blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
- Your risk of Hypertension increases with age
- Many Jamaicans with high blood pressure are not aware that they have this condition
- Even though the number of men and women with hypertension in Jamaica is the same, women are more likely to be aware that they have hypertension than men.
- Most persons being treated for high blood pressure do not have their blood pressure under control, and this is worse in men compared to women.
- High blood pressure, when combined with other factors such as diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, tobacco use, unhealthy diet (high salt, low fruits and vegetables, processed foods) and physical inactivity, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Other factors that may increase the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease include our genetics / family history, too little sleep, poor quality sleep, stress, air pollution and high blood pressure in pregnancy.
Check out your cardiovascular health by having your blood pressure checked this month if you have not done it recently. Blood pressure checks can be done at the your nearby clinics, health centre, doctors office and some work places.
Major public hospitals (Kingston Public Hospital), The University Hospital of the West Indies, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica and several private facilities have cardiologists available who can diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases when these occur
The LIFE Project is an island-wide cohort (follow up study) being conducted in Jamaica to understand the reasons why high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are common.
All participants in the LIFE study have blood pressure measured. They are also asked questions about their family history, health history and lifestyle and have blood, urine, hair and nail samples are collected to check for diabetes and high cholesterol as well as to understand how genetics and exposure to toxins in the environment may affect blood pressure and cardiovascular disease risk. To understand more around the tests for these conditions please visit Understanding your results
Find out if you qualify to be part of the LIFE study by clicking here to Participate
For more information on cardiovascular disease, join The Heart Foundation of Jamaica for their exhibit and live discussions for Heart month 2022.