News release

May 17 is World Hypertension Day, Op-ed

NOTE: The following is an op-ed piece by Neala Gill, manager, Cardiovascular Health Nova Scotia, Peggy Dunbar, manager, Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia and Susan MacNeil, manager, Nova Scotia Renal Program.

On Tuesday, May 17th, organizations around the world are raising awareness about the importance of knowing your blood pressure.

Blood pressure pushes blood through your blood vessels. When that force is too high, you may develop hypertension, or high blood pressure. Because there are no warning signs or symptoms, you may not know that you have high blood pressure. This is why it's called the "silent killer."

High blood pressure damages blood vessels and significantly increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney disease.

Almost one third of Nova Scotia adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. It is more common in some groups, for example 70 per cent of people with diabetes also have high blood pressure. Rates are also higher in seniors and people of First Nations, African, Hispanic and South Asian descent.

The good news is high blood pressure can be prevented, managed and controlled.

Reduce your risk by:

  • being more active
  • eating healthier
  • losing weight
  • quitting smoking
  • reducing or managing stress
  • limiting alcohol
  • using less salt or avoiding foods higher in sodium
  • taking medications as directed by your doctor

Have your blood pressure checked regularly, and keep track of your reading. If your numbers are above normal most of the time, you are at risk of developing high blood pressure. Knowing your numbers and how they compare to your ideal blood pressure target is an important step towards preventing or managing high blood pressure.

Your doctor and health care team can advise you on your target blood pressure. Generally, most people should keep their blood pressure below 140/90. People with diabetes or kidney disease should keep their blood pressure below 130/80.

Three provincial programs, Cardiovascular Health Nova Scotia, Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Renal Program, have a shared interest in addressing hypertension because of its link to chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart and kidney disease.

We hope you will help us mark World Hypertension Day by having your blood pressure checked, knowing your numbers and comparing them to your blood pressure target.

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Media Contacts:

Nicole Brooks
Department of Health and Wellness 902-424-2608 E-mail:
Neala Gill
Cardiovascular Health Nova Scotia 902 473-7834 E-mail:
Peggy Dunbar
Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia 902 473-3219 E-mail:
Susan MacNeil
Nova Scotia Renal Program 902 473-5656 E-mail: