By Afolabi Fasoranti
Joseph Out (not his real name) found out about his blood pressure problem the hard way. Woke up in the middle of the night with a headache, he had difficulty speaking and felt weak on one side of his body. The 54 year old Nigerian professional driver had no idea what was happening to him, but feared the worst. His family took him to a clinic near his home in the sprawling megacity, where a nurse checked his blood pressure.
Blood pressure readings are comprised of two values: one for systolic and one for diastolic pressure, anything equal to or above 140/90 mmHg is considered high. Otu’s stood at 175/110 mmHg, a level at which he faced an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. The fact that Otu had no idea about his blood pressure status before clinical diagnosis is not unusual (WHO). High blood pressure requires the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood through the blood vessels.
The act of health promotion and diseases prevention is economical. However, benefits are sometimes seen many years later. This makes it less tangible for politicians to invest especially in communities of ever increasing emergence of communicable and non communicable diseases. Therefore, promoting health and preventing disease greatly relies on the individuals, communities and organization.
Due to the high level of poverty and unemployment rate in the country, many youths have devised various means to meet their ends need, as a result of this; they are exposed to various kinds of hardship which tends to raise their stress level. Hypertension is a term used to describe high blood pressure which is fast becoming the world’s most prevalent health conditions as it leads to significant morbidity and mortality. Flow of blood is based on the beat of which the heart pumps blood. The pressure of the heart does not stay at the same level at all times. It varies based on activities at a particular point in time. Hypertension occurs as a result to long duration of abnormal pressure of the main arteries. The term high blood pressure exists in Yoruba dialect as “ejeriru”. This literally means overflow of blood and it is commonly known and used term for high blood pressure.
Hypertension is a condition that occurs as a result of repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. However, normal blood pressure is 120/80. Hypertension has been called a silent killer as it is usually without symptoms. It takes a long time before it can be diagnosed thereby causing major health problems as stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Damage to organs as the brain, heart, kidneys and eye are the long term effects of high blood pressure disease.
The cause of hypertension is not yet known, however, there are many underlying factors associated with the occurrence. These factors include: aging, excessive salt intake, sedentary lifestyle as well as genetic factors. Therefore, to prevent hypertension and lower your blood pressure, the following precautions must be duly followed:
- Losing any excess weight
- Doing more exercise, walk, jog and run
- Making changes to your diet, such as reducing fat and including more fruits and vegetables
- Reducing the amount of salts in your diet
- Cutting down on alcohol
- Drinking less coffee and other high caffeine drinks, such as cola
- Avoid smoking and also avoid places where others are smoking
- Adequate rest and sleep
- Stress management and relaxation technique can also help reduce your blood pressure
- Regular medical check-up and know your blood pressure status today
My condolences to the family of JIRE OLUSEGUN “JA-RULE”. May his soul find eternal rest in the bossom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Ondo will rise again and the sun will continue shining
God bless Ondo state
God bless Nigeria.
Fasoranti Afolabi is a PhD student at the prestigious University of Lagos. His major area of research is disease control and prevention.