Prevention and Management of Hypertension
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a long term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated.
It is a health condition that affects several people in the world, irrespective of age, race or economic status.
Researches indicate that there are two types of hypertension.
Primary hypertension also called essential hypertension which develops over time with no identifiable cause and secondary hypertension, which often occurs quickly and can become more severe than primary hypertension.
According to statistics, the number of people who will be living with hypertension is predicted to be over one billion worldwide by the year 2025.
Similarly, the World Health Organisation, WHO, rates hypertension as a cause of premature death worldwide and that by 2025, it is estimated that about two million adults would be living with high blood pressure, if drastic actions are not taken.
This perhaps explains why sudden deaths have been a common occurrence.
The increasing prevalence of the ailment is blamed on lifestyle and dietary factors, such as physical inactivity, excessive alcohol intake, tobacco use, and salt abuse.
It is a known fact that hypertension is a silent killer; it can cause severe damage to the body for years before its symptoms become obvious.
Some of the symptoms of hypertension include headaches, shortness of breath, nose bleeding, flushing, dizziness, chest pain, visual changes and blood in the urine.
However, if hypertension is not treated, the patient may face fatal complications which include damaged arteries, damaged brain and enlarged heart, which increases the risk of heart attack.
It is sad to note that Nigeria is one of the countries said to be currently witnessing a surge in high blood pressure prevalence rate, as statistics reveals that about forty percent of its adult population are hypertensive, which suggests that the country would be worst hit, if nothing is done to check the rising prevalence of the scourge.
The theme for this years’ world hypertension day is ‘know your numbers’ with a goal of increasing high blood pressure, BP, awareness around the world.
As the country joins the rest of the world to mark the World Hypertension Day, the best way to detect hypertension is to get regular blood pressure readings as most doctors’ offices will take a blood pressure reading at every appointment.
In order to curb the scourge of hypertension in the country, it is important to include a heart-healthy diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins such as fish.
Increasing physical activity and weight control can also help to reduce peoples prone to heart attack and high blood pressure.
There is also the need to educate people with hypertension to include a plant- based diet which is an easy way to reduce the amount of sodium content in the body.
Furthermore, it is quite important to cut back on sweets, sugary foods and beverages which contain empty calories with no nutritional content.
In addition, government should establish health care facilities in rural and urban communities to encourage routine medical checkup for quick detection, treatment and management of hypertension.
Government should adequately equip the nation’s medical centres with modern facilities to treat patients with high blood pressure while more medical personnel should be trained as specialists to handle the disease to reduce invaluable loss of lives to such preventable sickness.