LAHORE - Hypertension is one of the leading causes of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and premature death. A normal blood pressure is ideally 120/80 or less and a high-normal reading may go up to 139/89. An uncontrolled, high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke, kidney failure and damage to eyesight (glaucoma, blindness), thus adding to a big proportion or the mortality and morbidity. These views were expressed by Pakistan Medical Society chairman, Dr Masood Akhtar Sheikh, on the World Hypertension Day here at Lahore. World Hypertension Day was celebrated in Pakistan like other parts of the world with the theme Healthy Weight - Healthy Blood Pressure. It is estimated that more than one billion peoples are suffering from hypertension worldwide and only 12 percent are controlling it effectively. Two out of three people with high blood pressure are unaware of the condition and it is estimated that one in four between the age of 15 and 64 years suffers from high blood pressure. These can be reduced easily by adopting preventive measure, maintaining simple life style, reducing salt intake and moderate physical activity. Dr Masood said that every one above the age of forty must get there blood pressure checked at least once after every six months to a year. The people should be educated to overcome the disease once it is without symptoms as the symptoms appear very late. Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure and is often referred to as the 'silent killer because there are rarely visible symptoms warning you that your blood pressure is high. In more advanced cases headaches, visual disturbances, nosebleeds, nausea, vomiting and drowsiness may be experienced. Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in your arteries that is needed to keep blood flowing through your body. Dr Masood added that risk factors include a family history of high blood pressure, the risk increases with age (it occurs most often in men over the age of 35 years), being overweight (especially around the stomach area) contributes 2-6 times higher risk. Dr Masood added that simple preventive measure like eat less, regular meals every day, eat a healthy and balanced diet, enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables (at least 5 servings a day), include foods that are high in fibre (eg whole grains and nuts), avoid fatty foods, especially those that are high in saturated fats (eg full cream dairy products, meat, chicken skin and fried foods), eat foods that are high in fibre and whole grains (limit refined foods and drinks high in added sugars) can prove beneficial. Overweight people are advised to lose weight. Losing 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight can lead to a meaningful drop in blood pressure. Reduce total salt (sodium chloride) intake. This not only includes table salt but also salt that is hidden in foods. Caffeine in coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate, energy drinks and weight loss products may cause blood pressure to increase temporarily. Include regular physical activity as part of your daily routine. Dr Alia, Gynaecologist said that blood pressure can be a big threat to the developing foetus as this can lead to abortion, low birth weight baby and still births if not controlled. She added that during the pregnancy the blood pressure of women falls as routine matter so she may have even less pressure than before. Her BP should be taken on record during each visit as this simple method can be life saving. The increased blood pressure can have delirious effects on the women especially during the first pregnancy, as the women can have the swelling of the body, increased amount of protein in the urine and can have the disease called Preeclampsia and even Eclampsia.