Hypertension in the Philippines

Sphygmomanometer, bestfriend of a hypertensive person.

My first health article which tackles chemotherapy in the Philippines got a lot of responses from BLOG-PH.com readers. I'm also happy that it's on the first page of search results when I searched for chemotherapy philippines. So, here is the second part that will take a glimpse on hypertensive people’s live and how do they deal with it.

Hypertension is something that is not new to me. I got a lot of relatives, from my mother’s side who suffered from this ailment. Something that I’m afraid of, because it runs in the blood.

Hypertension (HTN) or high blood pressure is a chronic medical condition in which the systemic arterial blood pressure is elevated. It is the opposite of hypotension. It is classified as either primary (essential) or secondary. About 90–95% of cases are termed "primary hypertension", which refers to high blood pressure for which no medical cause can be found, according to Wikipedia.


Ms. Susan is a 45 years old single female who hails from Capiz and now working as one of the staff at EIRON, a small credit investigation and credit collection company that has office near Chino Roces Avenue in Makati City. She’s with the company for 14 years now.

I didn’t ask her why she is still single because it might offend her, but as we go along she told me that she chose to be that way, so she will not be stressed. Apparently, she was afraid to be married because of what happened to her sister, who was abandoned by her husband with their three kids.

I came to know her through my housemate who is a special nurse. At first she was hesitant to allow me to interview her because she is ashamed of her being hypertensive, but after I convinced her that this will not require any photo of her and this interview can help a handful of people in preventing this disease, she finally agreed.

I came to their office in Makati at 4PM, and saw Ms. Susan and the other two other staffs whose busy with their mobile phones. I introduced myself to her and I discreetly look at her from head to foot.

At first glance, she really looks like a teacher. She’s a petite woman who now wears thick sunglasses, at a longer look you will notice that her left eye has some problem. She told me that it’s not a result of hypertension but she’s inborn with that. She wears a brown top and a black skirt with her white sandals on. Her shoulder-length hair is clipped up. She has this red plastic tumbler which I think with water in it, which she always holds all throughout my interview.

At first, she sound so mataray and just answers one-liner for my questions. But because of my innate ability I was able to extract all the things that I want :)


She told me that she is really careful on what she eats and having hypertension is really a surprise to her. “Ako kase yung taong sobrang maingat sa lahat ng kinakain ko except yung mga daing daing. Gusto ko talaga yu’n dati. Hindi rin naman namin lahi ang hypertension.” She begins.

Ms. Susan believed that she got this ailment from stress and her favorite dried fishes back then. “At alam mo yung bagoong talaba? D’un nag-start yu’n. After ko kumain nun, sinugod na ako sa hospital.” She details.

2007 was the year when she discovered that she has hypertension. At first it was difficult to her to accept that she has this disease. Because first, she will not enjoy all the things that she wanted and two, she will be required to take medicines every day, which is not free.

“’Pag sumama na ang pakiramdam ko, ayun sigurado mataas na naman ang BP (blood pressure) ko.” She said. Sometimes she would go to hospital by herself. The last time was, two months ago where she went to Ospital ng Makati alone.


Her doctor from Alfonso Specialist Hospital in Rosario Pasig recommended her to take Metroprolol, which she buys at RightMed at  P3.00 pesos per piece. At first, she takes it every day, but now it depends whenever if she has high blood pressure.

Sometimes, she would cut it into fours and take the ¼ part of it.

Although her doctor is now in Bataan, she continues to buy the medicine. “Nahiyang na kasi ako eh, tsaka mura pa.” She religiously follows what the doctor told her to avoid any untoward incidents.

She also tried some food supplements like Fern-C, Alive and 4Life which is not available in drug stores but from personal distributors only according to her. Fern-C is P6.00 pesos per capsule, Alive is P13.00 pesos each and Alive is P55.00 pesos. I asked her why are she taking those. She answered that she distributes this food supplements since 2006 and she believes in her products. She added that these are healthy and very effective but the downside is, it’s pricy.

I asked her how she discovered these products. “Advice rin ng ibang tao. Ako kase I don’t buy a product just because it’s popular.” Asked her also if she knew that these products have no therapeutic claims. She answered yes, but she reasoned out that there are a lot of people she knew, that got positive results from these products.

It’s also surprising that just like my subject on the chemotherapy article, Ms. Susan didn’t know how to use the internet yet. I discovered that when I asked her if she uses the internet to get more information on hypertension, and she answered “Hindi, I have no time for that eh and I never tried it.” And then she laughed a little.

I did asked her if she want to learn the basics of internet because I can teach her if she has free time and she agreed positively.


Her advice in preventing this disease is to avoid or minimize the intake of fatty food, too many sweets, too much salty food. Cut down on softdrinks and other alcoholic drinks. Too much of everything is not good to the body.

Don’t get to stressed, sleep early and get enough sleep. Relax and take a break once in a while. Get a daily dose of vegetables and fruits it’s very good for our body.

 While her advice to the hypertensive people like her is to always follow what the doctors told them and regularly monitor your blood pressure.

This interview is actually a wakeup call for me, because this past few months I’m gaining weight fast and I’m getting a lot pimples on my face because I always end up sleeping late. I love sweets and salty food too.

Well I don’t wanna end up being hypertensive, so I start this day anew. Today I wake up at 8AM because I sleep on time yesterday. Cheers! To a more healthy life for all of us :)

photo source: chinahearsay & opt-medical



  1. i like eating salty foods too! I will try to limit it starting today!

  2. that's what I'm trying to do also =)

  3. nakakatawa na she spends more on alternative medicines na hindi pa proven ang effect

  4. she said na "maingat" daw siya sa food she ate pero her fave is daing.

  5. this is the real problem in a world full of 'instant' modern technology has disadvantages also!

    anyway my only advice is less on sugar and salt and more on vegetables and fruits!

  6. Especially for the adult, salt is not good for them.

  7. PANSALT, the low-sodium salt from Finland, is now available in the Philippines. Visit www.pansalt.ph or contact (02) 531-4881/ 0917-811-SALT (7258)for more information.

    PANSALT is the healthier & tastier low-sodium salt that is better for our health that common salt. Make that switch now to PANSALT!

  8. Jeasar San JUanAugust 06, 2011

    yeah much better na mag iwas ka mUna sa mga fatty foods dahil yun ang dahilan kung bakit ka nagkakaroon na hypertenaion