It describes a condition in which there is sustained elevation of blood pressure above a threshold of 140 mmHg systolic and 90 mmHg diastolic in an adult.
Unfortunately, hypertension only announces its presence in most people after development of complications like stroke, heart failure, heart attack or kidney failure. The social and economic tolls of these complications on immediate families and the nation at large are enormous.
Every year, 17th of May is set aside as the World Hypertension Day (WHD) by the World Hypertension League. The purpose of the day is to increase the awareness of hypertension around the world. The ultimate goal is to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer. The theme of this year’s event is “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”.
This theme is a call to the need to increase hypertension awareness, accurately measure blood
pressure, detect and control hypertension in order to prevent premature death.
The proportion of Nigerians with hypertension is high, while awareness, treatment, and control rates are low despite the availability of potent drugs. In a screening conducted by the Nigerian Hypertension Society in 2018, hypertension was present in one-third of the population with only half of these aware of being hypertensive, while only 18% of all hypertensives had their blood pressure controlled.
To reduce the negative consequences of hypertension, the Nigerian Hypertension Society advises thus;
1. Everybody should check his/her blood pressure regularly.
2. Those with hypertension should consult their medical practitioners for proper advice.
3. If you are hypertensive, please take your medications regularly to achieve a good blood pressure control and thus prevent complications like stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure which can shorten lifespan.
4. Avoid excessive salt consumption as this is strongly linked to development of hypertension and/or poor control of same.
5. Eat healthy diets with daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.
6. Engage in physical exercises for a minimum duration of 30 minutes on a daily basis or on at least three non-consecutive days per week.
7. Reduce your weight if you are overweight or obese.
8. Avoid unhealthy lifestyles like smoking and alcohol consumption.
In conjunction with the International Society of Hypertension and other partners, the Nigerian Hypertension Society is doing mass screening for undetected or undertreated hypertension in each state of the federation from May to November, 2021. Citizens are encouraged to make use of this unique opportunity to measure their blood pressure, know their numbers and receive professional advice.
Measure Your BP; Control Your BP; Live Longer!
Professor Ayodele B. Omotoso
Professor Kolawole W. Wahab
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