MANILA, Philippines - Around 14 million Filipinos, or 25 percent of the current adult population in the country, have hypertension, according to the Department of Health (DOH).
Health Secretary Enrique Ona on Friday said people often have no symptoms and are unaware of their high blood pressure.
This makes it important for people to regularly check their blood pressure, he added.
Heart disease and stroke remain as the leading causes of mortality in the country, accounting for around 35 percent of total deaths among Filipinos.
Data shows that in 2009, around 167,000 Filipinos died from heart disease and stroke. Half of the deaths are likely related to high blood pressure, according to the DOH.
"Detecting high blood pressure is the first step in preventing and controlling it; when people know their blood pressure, they can take steps to control it," Ona said.
The World Health Organization said the recommended daily intake for salt is 2,000 mg sodium or 1 teaspoon salt. Nutritionist Fely Velandria said Filipinos normally consume 2,500 mg sodium a day because of condiments like suka, toyo, patis.
Velandria said a teaspoon of soy sauce or patis already has 500 mg sodium.
Bagoong has around 500 mg sodium, while a burger has 1500 mg sodium. Instant noodles have 1,400 mg sodium. Salt is also used in preservatives.
Velandria advised Filipinos to take everything in moderation, "If you use sinigang mix, o yung condiments sa instant noodles, hatiin sa kalahati at dagdagan ng tubig," she said.