High blood pressure is the leading cause of end-stage renal failure in Jamaica. This was disclosed by Executive Director of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ), Deborah Chen, at a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday (January 29) as the entity prepares to observe Heart Month in February under the theme ‘High Blood Pressure, the Untold Damage to Kidneys’.
“This year, the focus is on highlighting and raising awareness about the impact of uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure) on not just the heart but also damage to the kidneys,” she said, noting that lives can be saved through early screening, detection and prevention.
“The kidneys help filter waste and extra fluids from the blood via the blood vessels. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can eventually cause arteries around the kidneys to narrow, weaken or harden,” she noted. Mrs. Chen said that 34 per cent of Jamaicans have high blood pressure.
More males than females are affected by renal failure resulting from hypertension, at a ratio of 1.5:1, and more males than females are on long-term renal replacement therapy.
Chen said that the condition can be prevented in some persons by controlling blood pressure with regular screening and medication.
The HFJ will join the rest of the world in celebrating Heart Month as part of its mandate to promote heart health by providing relevant new and emerging information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Mrs. Chen was citing statistics from the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey and the Caribbean Renal Registry 2006.