Hypertension, generally known as high blood pressure, affects millions of people worldwide. It is known as the “silent killer” because it can create major health issues with no obvious signs.
In Nigeria, there are over 20.8 million cases of hypertension. Although, this comes as no shocker, due to an overwhelming number of socio-economic challenges.
Despite its prevalence, some Nigerians are ignorant of the risks of how to successfully control high blood pressure.
In this article, we will look at what hypertension is, what causes it, and how to manage it in Nigeria
Hypertension is a condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is constantly excessively high. A systolic blood pressure of at least 140 mmHg and a diastolic blood pressure of at least 90 mmHg is considered to be signs of hypertension.
This can cause arteries, heart, and other organ damage, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Chronic hypertension can also lead to memory loss, depression, and sexual dysfunction.
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of hypertension, including age, genetics, lifestyle, and health conditions. Some of the most common causes of hypertension include obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, a diet high in salt, alcohol consumption, stress, and smoking.
Additionally, certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and sleep apnea, can also increase the risk of developing hypertension.
The good news is that hypertension is manageable and can frequently be avoided or controlled by lifestyle changes. Managing hypertension is essential for lowering the risk of other serious health issues.
The following actions can help to control blood pressure:
- Eat a healthy diet: A diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products can help lower blood pressure. Foods heavy in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats should be avoided.
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure. Most days of the week, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, such as fast walking.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity or being overweight can increase your chances of developing hypertension. Weight loss and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise can help lower blood pressure.
- Reduce stress: Stress can raise blood pressure, so finding ways to reduce stress via relaxing activities like meditation, listening to calming music, participating in your favorite activity, or spending time with loved ones will help keep blood pressure under control.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, therefore it’s important to minimize your alcohol consumption.
- Regular checkup: Aside from these lifestyle changes, it is also important to periodically check your blood pressure and cooperate with your healthcare professional to develop the best treatment strategy for you. Medication may be required in some circumstances to help reduce blood pressure. Medication, such as blood pressure medications, or extra lifestyle adjustments may be used. It is important to take these drugs exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
- Technology has also played a part in hypertension management in the 21st century. Wearable technologies, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, can now monitor blood pressure and provide prescription reminders. There are now mobile applications and internet platforms that allow people to monitor their blood pressure, and lifestyle habits, and connect with their healthcare practitioner.
In conclusion, untreated hypertension is a serious condition that can have devastating consequences. You can successfully control your blood pressure and lower your chance of developing related health problems by understanding its causes and risk factors, as well as implementing lifestyle changes. Working collaboratively with a healthcare practitioner to build a personalized plan for treating hypertension is also essential.
Don’t ignore the “silent killer.” Take control of your health today and protect yourself for the future.