1 in 4 Filipinos has high blood pressure
More Filipinos are at risk from lifestyle-related diseases, according to a survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST).
Recent results of the National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHeS II) FNRI showed that more Filipinos have hypertension, high fasting blood sugar, and high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other lifestyle-related diseases.
They found out that one in every four Filipino adults (25.3 percent) has hypertension or a blood pressure (BP) reading equal to or higher than 140/90 millimeter mercury (mmHg), a significant increase in the prevalence of hypertension. In 2008, the prevalence of hypertension increased to 25.3 percent from 22.5 percent in 2003.
Moreover, the survey revealed that 11 in every 100 Filipinos (10.8 percent) have pre-hypertension or a BP reading at the range of 130-139/85-89 mmHg. This becomes alarming as high BP increases with age starting from age 40-49 years.
Meanwhile, five in every 100 Filipinos have high fasting blood sugar (FBS), which is indicative of diabetes mellitus. The prevalence increased from 3.4 percent in 2003 to 4.8 percent in 2008. The prevalence of high FBS or hyperglycemia peaks at age 50-59 years.
The survey also showed that three in every 100 Filipinos have impaired fasting glucose (IFG). If not prevented, IFG may develop to diabetes mellitus.
The cases of people with dyslipidemia or abnormal lipid levels, on the other hand, increased from 2003 to 2008.
The survey showed that one in every 10 (10.2 percent) Filipino adults has high total cholesterol level, while 21 in every 100 (21.2 percent) Filipinos are on the borderline high level.
FNRI also discovered that 15 in every 100 (14.6 percent) Filipinos have high triglyceride level, while 16 in every 100 (15.5 percent) are borderline high.
The prevalence of low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-c) level increased from 54.2 percent in 2003 to 64.1 percent in 2008.
In contrast, the prevalence of high low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c) level did not change much, from 11.7 percent in 2003 to 11.8 percent in 2008.
A person is considered to have a low HDL-c level if the fasting blood measurement is less than 40 mg/dl while a high LDL-c level of the fasting blood measurement is greater than or equal to 160 mg/dl.
These are all major risk factors to lifestyle-related diseases, specifically cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, and cancer which are the leading causes of death in the country.
To prevent these diseases, people must have a healthy lifestyle. The Technical Working Group of the FNRI produced a nutritional guideline for Filipinos. The group said that smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages are major habits which should be removed in order to start a healthy lifestyle.
They also recommend eating more fruits, vegetables, root crops, and legumes, which are sources of fiber. Fiber can help the body in many ways as it decreases the cholesterol level, prolongs the response of our body to blood glucose levels, and limits the intake of salty foods in our system.