FEBRUARY IS HEART MONTH
The Heart Foundation of Jamaica Highlights Two “Silent Killers” under the theme: High Blood Pressure; the Untold Damage to the Kidneys.
Each year, The Heart Foundation of Jamaica celebrates February as Heart Month as part of its mandate to promote heart health by providing information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This year the focus is on raising awareness of the impact of uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure), on not just the heart, but also the untold damage to kidneys. High blood pressure is the leading cause of persons requiring renal dialysis in Jamaica.
The kidneys help filter waste and extra fluids from blood, via the blood vessels. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause arteries around the kidneys to narrow, weaken, or harden. 31.5% of Jamaicans have high blood pressure. Unfortunately one of the long-term consequences of uncontrolled or untreated high blood pressure is kidney failure.
Within the Caribbean, the commonest cause of end stage renal failure is hypertension (65.5%), with diabetes mellitus at 27.6%. In Jamaica, the male to female ratio was 1.5:1 for dialysis. More males than females were on long term renal replacement therapy in most of the islands. Many persons are unaware of the damage that hypertension can cause to the kidneys.
As we can see number the of persons who suffer from kidney failure due to hypertension is alarmingly high and The Heart Foundation of Jamaica is using the occasion of Heart Month to provide the public with information that highlights this connection. During Heart Month, several initiatives will be carried in an effort to build awareness of this chronic disease.
Through our public education initiatives, we hope to increase awareness as to the value of regular screening and lessen the financial and emotional burden that adversely impacts families due to hypertension.
- Ministry of Health. Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey III (2016-2017) Retrieved from: https://www.moh.gov.jm/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Jamaica-Health-and-Lifestyle-Survey-III-2016-2017.pdf
- Report from the Caribbean renal registry, 2006. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18198742