The ONE organ responsible for high blood pressure.
What can employers do about hypertension in the workplace?
High blood pressure can cause damage to the arteries around your kidneys. This can reduce their ability to do their job and, at worst, lead to kidney failure. You are more likely to develop vision problems. Your eyes are full of small blood vessels that can easily be strained or damaged by high blood pressure.
All About Hypertension
Risk and ComplicationsHypertension, as a major modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease, results in more deaths than any other risk factors, including diabetes and cigarette smoking. Among other complications, hypertension can cause serious damage to the heart, resulting in chest pain, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat or stroke. Moreover, hypertension can cause kidney damage, leading to kidney failure.
Population with HypertensionThe World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 2000 and 2025, the number of patients diagnosed with hypertension will increase from one billion to 1.5 billion globally and Asia will contribute a large proportion of this patient population. As compared to Caucasian populations with a comparable BMI, East and South Asian populations are subject to a relatively greater risk of developing hypertension. In highly populated developing Asian countries, such as China and India, the total number of hypertensive patients is expected to increase to more than 500 million by 2025. Risk indicators for hypertension in most countries in Asia include:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Sedentary behavior
- Alcohol consumption
- Higher social class
- Salt intake
Stalking the Silent KillerHypertension is often dubbed the silent killer because it is largely a symptomless condition. What companies can do is to promote awareness of hypertension and highlight the importance of high blood pressure as part of their efforts to create a health-positive workplace culture. A variety of drill-down strategies can be used to get more employees screened, better identify those at risk and drive healthier outcomes by pushing high-risk employees to get the care they need as preventative measures.
- Encourage employees to be health-aware and make the most of opportunities for check-ups
- Demonstrate good heart-health check behaviors by encouraging senior leaders to get tested and being transparent about the experience
- Make sure managers are briefed about the links between work stress and other drivers of high blood pressure risks – and are encouraged to share this with their teams
- Organize “blood pressure check day” in the workplace
Promoting awareness and encouraging participationThe use of greater financial incentives – rewards or penalties (such as higher premiums and deductibles) and biometric outcomes-based health-contingent targets (such as for blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index – to hold employees accountable for better health measures, have proven successful in some companies that conduct health risk appraisals. While increasing participation in health screenings is the key first step to discovering a problem, running health programs for employees promoting better nutrition, exercise, weight loss and stress relief methods can be effective in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Encourage drinking of non-caffeinated hot and cold drinks
- Involve employees in healthy eating campaigns together with provision of fruits and veggies in the workplace
- Provide onsite exercise options
- Encourage employees to organize sports teams or take part in local exercise events