Hypertension is a Silent Invisible Killer, You Should Take Seriously Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, May 16, 2016: “Undiagnosed hypertension puts you at risk for a variety of other conditions. Knowing your blood pressure is an important part of health management” remarked Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), in observance of World Hypertension Day. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, means the pressure in your arteries is higher than it should be. Called the “silent killer” because it is usually symptomless, hypertension can cause serious health problems such as heart failure, stroke, aneurysm, and kidney damage. It is also the number one risk factor for illness and premature death from cardiovascular disease, and affects millions of people in the Americas. Addressing behavioural risk factors such as unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol and physical inactivity, can prevent hypertension. Tobacco use increases the risk of complications of hypertension. If no action is taken to reduce exposure to these factors, cardiovascular disease incidence, including hypertension, will increase. Hypertension is one of the most common non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Caribbean region. Dr. Hospedales stressed that early awareness and healthy lifestyle changes can prevent serious health consequences later on. There are several things people can do to control or prevent high blood pressure. These include reducing salt intake; eating a balanced diet; avoiding harmful use of alcohol; taking regular physical activity; maintaining a healthy body weight; and avoiding tobacco use CARPHA stresses that early awareness and healthy lifestyle changes can prevent serious health consequences later on. If you have been diagnosed with hypertension it’s important to stay on the treatment prescribed by your doctor or health provider, especially if you have other risks like diabetes, high cholesterol, or are a smoker. World Hypertension Day (WHD) was first inaugurated in May 2005 by the World Hypertension League, a division of the International Society of Hypertension. The purpose of the WHD is to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer, the modern epidemic.