Cardiologist urges public to be alert to ‘silent killer’

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By Carlena Knight

[email protected]

A leading local medical expert is urging the public to take their health “more seriously”.

Dr Georgette Meade – cardiologist and president of the Heart & Stroke Foundation – was speaking in honour of World Metrology Day marked last week under the theme ‘measurement for health’.

Dr Meade was addressing the issue of haemorrhagic stroke with high blood pressure being the leading cause.

“If you are diagnosed with hypertension, please take it seriously. Hypertension does not show symptoms; it really sneaks up on you. We call it a silent killer.

“You will think all is well ‘til suddenly the pressure spikes and you have stroke. Your kidneys are under this pressure for an extended period, who knows, maybe months or even years if your blood pressure is not checked.

“You could develop kidney disease or heart failure. It’s challenging to reverse these things and so we want to be ahead of the game. It is the number one cause of haemorrhagic stroke so we need to be aware of what our numbers are. Less than 130 over 80 is normal,” Dr Meade said.

A haemorrhagic stroke or an intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) occurs when a blood vessel ruptures and blood accumulates in the tissue around the rupture. This puts pressure on the brain and causes a loss of blood to the surrounding areas.

According to Dr Meade, one in every five persons will suffer a haemorrhagic stroke.

Along with high blood pressure, persistent headaches, aneurysms and stress were outlined as some of the top causes.

Since the pandemic, anxiety levels have risen in persons but Dr Meade is suggesting that they try stress control exercises like yoga.

“The pandemic is happening and I have seen a lot more patients come in with elevated blood pressure or anxiety symptoms,” she explained.

“Walking on our wonderful beaches is one coping mechanism. Getting the fresh air or even having a swim. Think of different ways to deal with your situation. Every situation is different and we all use different methods to deal with things but try more healthier methods is what I would suggest,” she added.

Dr Meade says prevention of this high mortality disease can happen through medication and a low salt diet.

“When we prepare our meals, we season quite a bit in the Caribbean and we get added salt from that. Purchasing food that is prepared for the general public is usually higher with salt so you would want to request a lower salt if you are going out to a restaurant and be cognisant of tinned foods also having hidden salt and that’s how we get our higher salt intake,” Dr Meade added.

She was speaking on the Observer AM radio show on Thursday.

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