World Hypertension day (May 17)
Did you know that there are 1.5million cases of newly diagnosed hypertensive patients per year in Nigeria?
In my practice, I find that many people are hypertensive without realizing it.
Thankfully, Blood pressure check is one of the free services we offer where I work as well as in many other healthcare facilities..
I have lost count of how many people have walked in just because they were cajoled by a friend or family member to check their Blood pressure(Bp) or because they came to see the Doctor for other complaints and have to get their vital signs checked only to find out that their blood pressures are elevated/high.
Most of the time, these patients were as far as they were concerned feeling well with nothing to indicate that they were having a high blood pressure.
While in some other cases, some of these patients show signs and symptoms which are associated with the condition..
So then you may ask;
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high.
Usually hypertension is defined as blood pressure above 140/90, and is considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120.
Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood against the walls of the body’s arteries, the major blood vessels in the body.
Just think about it like this; when the vulcanizer is pumping air into tyre tubes..you can see the pressure from the air being pumped into the tyre from the expansion of the tyre tubes.. Which if the pressure of air pumped into the tyre is too much can burst the tyre…you will have to agree that the pressure of air pumped into tyres must be just right..
So, picture the heart as the vulcanizing machine that pumps air but now..its blood while the tyre tubes are the arteries, and major blood vessels in the body…okay..now you get the picture..
Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The first number which is called systolic represents the pressure in blood vessels when the heart is contracting while The second number called diastolic represents the pressure in the vessels when the heart rests between beats.
The risk factors for developing Hypertension include;
Modifiable risk factors include ;
🚫unhealthy diets (excessive salt consumption, low intake of fruits and vegetables),
🚫physical inactivity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and being overweight or obese.
Non-modifiable risk factors include;
➡a family history of hypertension,
➡age over 65 years
➡co-existing diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease.
common signs and symptoms of hypertension?
Hypertension is called a “silent killer”.
Most people with hypertension are unaware of the problem because it may have no warning signs or symptoms.
For this reason, it is essential that blood pressure is measured regularly.
When symptoms do occur, they can include;
♦early morning headaches,
♦ irregular heart rhythms
♦ vision changes
♦buzzing in the ears.
Severe hypertension can cause;
The only way to detect hypertension is to have a health professional measure blood pressure.
Having blood pressure measured is quick and painless. Although individuals can measure their own blood pressure using automated devices, an evaluation by a health professional is important for assessment of risk and associated conditions.
The benefit of reducing hypertension cannot be overemphasized because;
Reducing hypertension prevents heart attack, stroke, and kidney damage, as well as other health problems.
Preventive measures include;
♥Reducing salt intake (to less than 5g daily).
♥Eating more fruit and vegetables.
♥Being physically active/Exercising regularly
Reducing alcohol consumption.
♥Limiting the intake of foods high in saturated fats.
♥Eliminating/reducing trans fats in diet.
Treatment/ management of Hypertension involves;
♥Reducing and managing stress.(Getting adequate amount of sleep)
♥Regularly checking blood pressure.
♥Taking prescribed antihypertensive medications regularly
♥Managing any other underlying medical conditions