Pressure checks and control vital
HYPERTENSION is the most common risk factor for non-communicable disease in Barbados.
As the name suggests, hypertension is simply defined as elevated pressures in the vascular system (blood vessels and heart). It is estimated that 40 per cent of all Barbadians over the age of 40 have hypertension. It is frequently referred to as the “silent killer” as most people are unaware of their diagnosis.
Hypertension is frequently found during a routine check-up or when a person goes to the doctor with some other complaint. Eighty per cent of those with it have no symptoms. In severe cases, people may report headache and dizziness.
When you visit your health care professional, you should have your blood pressure done and the reading will give two numbers: the systolic blood pressure and the diastolic blood pressure. The systolic (the higher number) corresponds to maximum pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts, while the diastolic (the lower number) corresponds to the minimum pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes. Your blood pressure is not static (there may be variations corresponding to sleep, work time, leisure time and during exercise).
A blood pressure reading is taken with a pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer). During the test, the cuff is placed around the upper arm before being manually or electronically inflated. The test should be done in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere.
People should refrain from smoking, drinking alcohol and taking coffee prior to having their blood pressure checked. In some individuals, blood pressure may be spuriously elevated during the time of the doctor’s visit (white-coat hypertension).
It is recommended that blood pressure be monitored at home with portable digital equipment that is reliable and usually easy to operate.
•Once your health care professional has made the diagnosis, the goal is now to maintain your blood pressure within the normal range. The categories listed in the first column are guides. People with diabetes mellitus, a history of heart attack, stroke or kidney disease may have even more stringent targets agreed with their physician.
•••to support bodily activity).
Kidney failure – Prolonged elevated blood pressure causes the arteries of the kidneys to narrow, weaken or harden so that the kidney may lose its ability to filter the blood.
Erectile dysfunction and impotence – Over time, irreversible damage to blood vessels may result in difficulty in maintaining an erect penis.
Vision loss – The vessels in the eyes may be damaged by hypertension with narrowing, exudates and bleeding resulting in visual loss.
Words of caution from Sir Roy
VETERAN TRADE UNIONIST Sir Roy Trotman has issued some strong words of caution as Barbados moves a step closer to having a law to protect employees against sexual harassment in the workplace.
Though he declared his support for the proposed Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Bill, 2017, Sir Roy told the Senate yesterday that he was concerned about the ease with which proceedings could be broken off and referred to mediation.
The Independent senator told legislators there had been “deliberate abuse”, particularly of females at the workplace, juxtaposing this against the more than a dozen years taken for the bill to reach its current stage.
The former general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union argued that “the mere passage of a piece of legislation is not going to remove that misbehaviour or that abuse behaviour from within the environment”.
He said individuals would use “whatever power and authority they have to thwart the waves of justice”.
“There must be concern as well that the complainant [would not have their] rights unduly swayed in one direction or the other,” he said.
Sir Roy was equally worried about potential legal challenges, citing some of the clauses in the bill that could be open to misinterpretation, including those dealing with contract of service.
Reminding his colleagues of the challenges to the Employment Rights Act, he said “a number of gurus” had used weaknesses in that law to say it should be abandoned.
“Having been once bitten, I believe . . . that the wise people of Barbados should make sure that we don’t allow the frivolous to impose their will on those of us who are much more serious in their thinking and their approach to nation-building. I believe that we should therefore ensure that the naysayers do not get their day in court.” ( WILLCOMM)