Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure or arterial hypertension is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. Hypertension usually does not cause symptoms initially, but sustained hypertension over time is a major risk factor for hypertensive heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, etc.
Dietary and lifestyle changes can improve blood pressure control and decrease the risk of health complications, although treatment with medication is still often necessary in people for whom lifestyle changes are not enough or not effective.
An increasing prevalence of the condition is blamed on lifestyle factors, such as physical inactivity, a salt-rich diet created by processed and fatty foods, and alcohol and tobacco use.
The disease burden of high blood pressure is a growing disease worldwide and medical personnel, Doctors, diagnose high blood pressure over a number of visits using what they refer to as sphygmomanometer, which involves applying an inflatable cuff to the upper arm. Lifestyle measures are used first to treat high blood pressure, including salt restriction, moderation of alcohol and other diet changes.
Doctor Doyin Odubanjo, chairman, Association of Public Health practitioners in a phone conversation with this paper said, Hypertension is a blood pressure higher than 140 over 90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury).One or both readings can be high, either the first, systolic reading (the pressure as the heart pumps blood around the body) or the diastolic one (as the heart relaxes and refills with blood).
According to him, there are general risk factors that can be responsible for raising anyone’s risk of hypertension,
“We have certain things that are traceable to hypertension like Obesity which is a risk factor for high blood pressure and other cardiovascular conditions as well as Age – everyone is at greater risk of High blood pressure as they get older like people above 60years of age. Another factor is Sex because men and women are said to have different risk profiles though, they have the same lifetime risks, as men are considered to be more prone at younger ages while women are more prone at older ages. Also, eating Lifestyle increases hypertension, from greater uptakes of dietary salt with processed and fatty foods, excessive alcohol, low dietary potassium, and physical inactivity.
“Hypertension itself does not cause symptoms but in the long-term leads to complications caused by narrowing of blood vessels. All we advice is a reduced salt intake, more of proteinous meals, unripe plantains, fruits and vegetables as well as regular exercise and check ups
It could be recorded that a Group called Team Up For Health, TUFH, a Carlisle Healthcare initiative offered free blood pressure checks campaign aimed to nip in the bud chronic diseases that may result from high blood pressure.
The initiator of the campaign, Pharm. Shade Animashaun announced to all Nigerians to take their health serious.
“The rate at which people are coming down with hypertension is alarming.
One in every three persons is hypertensive and the sad story about it is that if not taken care of on time can lead to other chronic diseases like heart failure, stroke and kidney disease to mention view.
“To prevent chronic diseases, TUFH initiated a community campaign to alert people on the need to monitor blood pressure. We believe that once the rise in blood pressure is detected on time, it is easy to prevent it from leading to chronic cases which can eventually result to death.”
Animashaun disclosed that the TUFH campaign was designed to provide free blood pressure checks for every member of society as they need to know their numbers; once they know their numbers they will know what to do and not to do.
Animashaun structured the campaign in such a way that any organisation, group of people or religious gathering can emulate them with the idea being that they do not want anybody to develop chronic disease which may stand as a death threat.
According to him, “Blood pressure is measured with a systolic number, SBP and a diastolic number, DBP. Systolic pressure occurs when the heart contracts and is the higher of the two numbers.
“Diastolic pressure is the lower number and it occurs when the heart relaxes and fills with blood. The higher your systolic or diastolic pressure, and the longer it stays high, the more damage there is to your blood vessels,” Animashaun emphasized.
With over 70 percent of hypertensive patients guilty of non-compliance with their drug regimens in Nigeria, experts have harped on the need for Nigerians to develop the culture of regular blood pressure checks even as they expressed worry over patients’ drug inconsistency.
In a renewed war against hypertension, the Nigerian Health Foundation, NHF; Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc and Microlife, strengthened collaboration to ensure that Nigerians with problem of hypertension have access to their medicines.
President of the Nigeria Heart Foundation, Dr Kingsley Akinroye speaking during the anniversary of “Fight the Good Fight Against Hypertension, FITGAH”, in Lagos with the theme: “Hypertension Never Sleeps”, regretted the unacceptable rise of some known lifestyle driven factors of heart disease in the country.
He is also Vice President, World Heart Federation, WHF, identified ignorance as a major factor militating against management of the condition and urged Nigerians to know their numbers.
Akinroye said the theme for this year’s World Hypertension Day, entitled, “Know your Risks,” had the goal of increasing high blood pressure awareness in all population around the world. Lifestyle driven factors of heart disease which is on the increase in Nigeria include high blood pressure, obesity, tobacco consumption, excessive intake of salt and urban lifestyle where people eat more of junk foods as part of efforts to check heart disease.