As the country shifts into an endemic phase, we are also moving towards a new normal, living with Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs). Throughout the pandemic, we have learnt that the prevention and control of a disease requires a joint, multi-sectorial effort, and individual citizens play a very important role.
We are familiar with Covid-19 SOPs, but are we doing enough to live healthy lives and prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs)?
NCDs remain the leading causes of death in Malaysia, and hypertension (high blood pressure) is the main contributor. Hypertension is a silent killer that may cause other serious illnesses like heart diseases and stroke.
The National Morbidity and Health Survey (NHMS) 2019 has reported that nearly half of those who have high blood pressure have not been diagnosed.
How often do we actually check our blood pressure and screen for NCDs, in comparison with Covid-19 tests?
This year, the theme for World Hypertension Day is “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”, which highlights the significance of good blood pressure control.
A meta-analysis has shown that significant blood pressure reduction will minimise the risk of major heart disease events, heart failure, strokes, and a subsequent reduction in mortality in the population.
We should do our part by practising a healthier lifestyle. Here are ten tips to:
- Prepare mentally and plan for a feasible healthier lifestyle.
- Do regular health screenings and seek treatment early if needed.
- Measure blood pressure and keep it below 140/90 mmHg.
- Take less than 5 grams of salt a day, and choose the Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension (DASH) diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods.
- Get physically active for at least 150 minutes a week.
- Maintain a Body Mass Index (BMI) within 18.5kg/m2 to 24.9 kg/m2.
- Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake.
- Manage stress with coping skills and relaxation therapies.
- Get adequate (seven to nine hours) and quality sleep.
- Maintain healthy lifestyles.
A change in lifestyle is certainly not easy, and a supportive environment is essential to ensure that the community at large remains healthy.
The Ministry of Health has set up Wellness Hubs to promote healthy lifestyles, with advice from professionals as well as community support.
Do your part now by choosing to live a healthier life.
Dr Yoong Lee Yeen, Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming and Prof Dr Sanjay Rampal are from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.