May 19, 2017, 12:45 am|
According to the Population Reference Bureau, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity contribute to about 12 million deaths worldwide, which are related to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as stroke, cancer, and diabetes.
The United Nation’s theme for World Hypertension Day (WHD) 2017 is ‘Know Your Numbers’.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, NCDs are on the rise and represent an increasingly significant cause of death and disability among African people. Diets in some African countries lack diversity, resulting in meals that often include a limited range of food groups. High salt levels in Africans’ diets, which increase blood pressure, are also common as salt is used to preserve foods and add taste.
Recently, in commemoration of World Hypertension Day, Nestle Nigeria Plc in collaboration with Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN), observed the World Hypertension Day by promoting public awareness of hypertension and encouraged everyone to prevent and control the modern epidemic.
Professor of Cardiology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Amam Mbakwem at the commemoration said that hypertension is the most powerful risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
“Hypertension is an asymptomatic disease; complications affecting important organs give rise to symptoms. A recent national multistage survey gave of 13,591 Nigerians – 44.9% prevalence. Hypertension is the most important risk factor for CVD and prevalence continues to rise and expected to affect 1.5billion people worldwide. Prevalence is Nigeria is about 30 –45% and genetic and environmental factors are key to development. Early detection is key and management involves lifestyle changes and drugs.” She said.
For the Managing Director, Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mauricio Alarcon, The WHD is an opportunity to increase high blood pressure awareness by providing critical information to improve knowledge of the prevention and management of hypertension. He further stated that the reason for the conference put together by Nestle in commemoration of WHD is to bring experts and stakeholders in health, wellness, nutrition, family matters and the media to discuss and raise public awareness about hypertension, its preventive measures, and management of its complications. In his words, “One of the most prevalent non-communicable conditions worldwide is hypertension. However, the level of awareness of this health challenge remains low. There is, therefore, need to leverage a day like this to sensitize the general public on the need to ‘Know Their Numbers’ ” said Alarcon.
Echoing the same line of thought is the Chairman, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, Tosin Adu who said “Although high blood pressure has a genetic predisposition, it is principally a lifestyle disorder. The statistics are frightening and the incidence cuts across racial and socio-economic barriers. Lifestyle modification is, therefore, key to both prevention and treatment.” He revealed.
In his address, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, a Professor, represented by Chris Bode, a Professor of Surgery, specialised in pediatric surgery and Chief Medical Director, LUTH said “May is the month of measurement. Let everyone measure their blood pressure and tell others to do so.
The free health services were available not only at the Sheraton Hotel where the conference took place but also at the Palms Mall in Lekki and Ikeja City Mall.The booths at these locations provided health checks including blood pressure, body mass index determination, blood sugar level and on their general health condition.
Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure. Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in the vessels. Each time the heart beats, it pumps blood into the vessels. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart. The higher the pressure the harder the heart has to pump.
KEY FACTS OF HYPERTENSION
1, A diagnosis of hypertension may be made when one or both readings are high: systolic (the pressure as the heart pumps blood around the body), given first; or diastolic (pressure as the heart relaxes and refills with blood), given second.
2, Modern lifestyle factors are responsible for a growing burden of hypertension: physical inactivity, salt-rich diets with processed and fatty foods, and alcohol and tobacco use.
3, High blood pressure can also be secondary to other conditions – kidney disease, for example – and can be associated with some medications.
4, Hypertension itself does not cause symptoms but in the long-term leads to complications caused by narrowing of blood vessels.
5, Doctors diagnose high blood pressure over a number of visits using a sphygmomanometer, which involves applying an inflatable cuff to the upper arm.
6, Lifestyle measures are used first to treat high blood pressure, including salt restriction and other dietary changes, moderation of alcohol, and stress reduction.
7, One or more drugs from a number of different classes may be used for treatment.