Be careful with hypertension, the silent disease

25.5% of Mexicans in adulthood suffer from arterial hypertension, a chronic degenerative disease characterized by the continuous increase in blood pressure.

In Mexico, seven million cases are registered and causes more than 50 thousand deaths a year, according to figures from the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS)1.

The consensus to diagnose a person with hypertension refers to the value of systolic pressure (when the heart contracts) and diastolic pressure (minimum blood pressure when the heart relaxes) greater than 140/90 mmHg. This simple measurement is performed routinely in the office and allows the healthcare professional to rule out that the blood is being pumped too strongly as it passes through the arteries.

According to the 2006 National Health and Nutrition Survey (ENSANUT)2, 40% of people with hypertension were unaware of their disease. Experts argue that the reason is that the person does not usually notice anything at the beginning and it may take even decades to make the diagnosis, but over time they may experience headache, vertigo, the perception of hearing a recurring sound and, some sometimes visual loss, irreversible.

"The asymptomatic nature of the disease allows the Optometry Degree to be the first professional to discover signs of high blood pressure," explained Liliana Pérez Peralta, spokeswoman for the Mexico Optometry Council. "High blood pressure causes a progressive deterioration of blood vessels throughout the body, including the small veins and arteries that nourish one of the most important structures of the eye, the retina.

Unlike the other blood vessels that are not visible because they are below the muscles, the veins and arteries of the retina are visible during routine fundus evaluation.

In this way, in the presence of changes such as narrowing and yellow-whitish coloration of the arteries, hemorrhages or edema (inflammation), we can assume that these same changes of the disease are found throughout the body, which could compromise other organs such as the heart. brain, kidneys and put the patient's life at risk. These changes must be referred to the family doctor to be treated, which improves the quality of life of the person "

The expert in Optometry commented that “the annual review with the Licentiate in Optometry can help to detect any of these changes early and avoid vision loss. In addition, it is always advisable to take some preventive measures to take care of our health and control blood pressure:

  • Maintain an adequate weight
  • Control diabetes or hypertension with ongoing treatment
  • Reduce the consumption of foods with excess saturated fat and salt.
  • Exercise and avoid sitting or lying down for most of the day.
  • Cut down on alcohol, tobacco, and caffeinated beverages.
  • In some cases, perform behavioral therapies and relaxation techniques ”.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, with good nutrition and regular physical activity, reduces risk factors for stroke, a high blood pressure, heart attacks or coronary heart disease.

About Consejo Optometría México

The Consejo Optometría México AC is a non-governmental organization with the following objectives: to ensure the visual and general health of the population in Mexico and to promote optometry in professional practice, teaching and research.

He is a member of the World Council of Optometry (WCO), recognized by the UN World Health Organization, whose mission is to facilitate the improvement and development of visual and eye care around the world through education, outreach humanitarian and policy development www.optometriamexico.org

1 Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS).

2 National Institute of Public Health. Midway National Health and Nutrition Survey 2016 (ENSANUT). Final Results Report.

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