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Beware of hypertension

With Kemi Olatunde
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Last Thursday, Ondo State Ministry of Health organized a one day non communicable diseases awareness outreach program in Akure where it gave people the opportunity to be tested for blood sugar level and blood pressure with a focus on diabetes and hypertension, hence the need to shed more light on hypertension.

Hypertension as gathered by living healthy is among the non communicable diseases which affects people of all age groups, religions and countries.

It is often associated with older people. However, 15 million annual deaths occur among people aged 30-69 years and more than 85 percent of the deaths occur in low and middle income countries such as Nigeria and in vulnerable communities where access to preventive health care is lacking.

Note the following

Normal blood pressure is 120 over 80 mm of mercury (mmHg), but hypertension is higher than 130 over 80 mmHg.

Acute causes of high blood pressure include stress, but it can happen on its own, or it can result from an underlying condition, such as kidney disease.

Unmanaged hypertension can lead to a heart attack, stroke, and other problems.

Lifestyle factors are the best way to address high blood pressure.

What is hypertension?

Regular health checks are the best way to monitor your blood pressure.

Regular health checks are the best way to monitor your blood pressure.

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure.

This means that the blood applies too much force against the walls of the blood vessels.

While blood pressure is best regulated through the diet before it reaches the stage of hypertension, there is a range of treatment options.

Lifestyle adjustments are the standard first-line treatment for hypertension.

Doctors recommend that patients with hypertension engage in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity, dynamic, aerobic exercise. This can include walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming on 5 to 7 days of the week.

According to the State Epidermologist, Dr. Stephen Fagbemi, avoiding stress, or developing strategies for managing unavoidable stress, can help with blood pressure control.

Using alcohol, drugs, smoking, and unhealthy eating to cope with stress will add to hypertensive problems. These should be avoided.

Smoking can raise blood pressure. Giving up smoking reduces the risk of hypertension, heart conditions, and other health issues.

People with blood pressure higher than 130 over 80 may use medication to treat hypertension.

Drugs are usually started one at a time at a low dose. Side effects associated with antihypertensive drugs are usually minor.

Eventually, a combination of at least two antihypertensive drugs is usually required.

A range of drug types are available to help lower blood pressure, including:

diuretics, including thiazides, chlorthalidone, and indapamide

beta-blockers and alpha-blockers

calcium-channel blockers

central agonists

peripheral adrenergic inhibitor

vasodilators

angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

angiotensin receptor blockers

The choice of drug depends on the individual and any other conditions they may have.

Anyone taking antihypertensive medications should be sure to carefully read labels, especially before taking any over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as decongestants.

These may interact with medications used to lower blood pressure.

Causes

The cause of hypertension is often not known.

Around one in every 20 cases of hypertension is the effect of an underlying condition or medication.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common cause of high blood pressure because the kidneys do not filter out fluid. This fluid excess leads to hypertension.

Risk factors

A number of risk factors increase the chances of having hypertension.

Age: Hypertension is more common in people aged over 60 years. With age, blood pressure can increase steadily as the arteries become stiffer and narrower due to plaque build-up.

Ethnicity: Some ethnic groups are more prone to hypertension.

Size and weight: Being overweight or obese is a key risk factor.

Alcohol and tobacco use: Consuming large amounts of alcohol regularly can increase a person’s blood pressure, as can smoking tobacco.

Sex: The lifetime risk is the same for males and females, but men are more prone to hypertension at a younger age. The prevalence tends to be higher in older women.

Existing health conditions: Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and high cholesterol levels can lead to hypertension, especially as people get older.

A family history of high blood pressure and poorly managed stress can also contribute.

Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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