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Manal Mahmoud Al-Masri

45-year-old mother of six children


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I was diagnosed with hypertension a few years ago. I remember being shocked at first – I felt angry and upset because I was only 39. I regretted so many things I had previously done, such as too many sugary foods, soft drinks and salted nuts. I never thought about my food choices and my diet was anything but healthy.

After my diagnosis, I started feeling tired all the time and I could barely leave my bed. I didn’t comply with my medications nor did I follow a healthy diet plan. I didn’t even exercise. It took me some time to accept my reality and begin dealing with my disease. I started making big changes two years after the diagnosis, when I joined the healthy community clinic (HCC) at Swelieh Al Shamil Health Center. By attending a series of awareness sessions and several oneto-one counseling sessions, I learned about hypertension, its symptoms and complications. This made me realize it was time to do something to save my life; remaining angry and continuing doing things the same way as before were not only going to lead me to a life with complications but could also lead to a stroke.

That’s why I enrolled in a gym two years ago and I still exercise regularly. I feel much better than before, not only physically but also mentally. I decreased my intake of salted food and soft drinks and I began to follow a technique to control my food intake. I’ve lost more than ten kilograms since joining the HCC programme. As a result of following a healthy diet and an active lifestyle, four months ago my doctor reduced my drug dosage to half.

My biggest supporters are my husband and my daughter, who have helped me to improve my diet and reduce my weight. I regret so many things about my lifestyle that I wish I had changed sooner – especially concerning my food choices. But this has also motivated me to encourage my friends and neighbors to join the HCC too and learn how to adopt healthy lifestyles that would prevent them getting a disease.