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Hypertension: a global health concern

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Hypertension and heart disease are global health concerns.

May 17th has been set aside to commemorate World Hypertension Day, an initiative of the World Hypertension League (WHL). The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Know Your Numbers” with a goal of increasing high blood pressure (BP) awareness in all populations around the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that growth of the processed food industry has impacted amount of salt in diets worldwide, and that this plays a role in hypertension.

Hypertension is one of the leading causes of death the world over. It’s called the silent killer and it kills millions of people every year. High blood pressure (HBP) often has no symptoms. Over time HBP if untreated, it can cause Health conditions, such as stroke, heart attack, heart failure, arterial aneurysm, chronic kidney failure, damage to the eyesight, kidney damage among others. Nigeria records more than 1.5 million cases per year.

Usually hypertension is defined as blood pressure above 140/90, and is considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120 (Ref range=120/80).
Risk factors:
1. Salt
2. Obesity
3. Inactivity
4. Alcohol
5. Smoking
6. Stress
7. Low potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg)
8. Genetics

To avoid a hypertension, insist on these healthy lifestyle choices:
1. Maintain a healthy weight
2 Eat a balanced diet
3. Cut back on salt
4. Exercise regularly
5. Limit the alcohol
6 Monitor your blood pressure regularly.

In summary, to avoid a hypertension, insist on these healthy lifestyle choices:
1. Maintain a healthy weight
2 Eat a balanced diet
3. Cut back on salt
4. Exercise regularly
5. Limit the alcohol
6 Monitor your blood pressure regularly
*Dr. Anthony Nwaoney is a consultant epidemiologist


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