World Hypertension Day : Cardiologist calls for healthy living

A Cardiologist, Dr. Akinkunmi Afolabi, in Lagos has urged Nigerians to promote healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of hypertension in the country.

Afolabi, who works at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), said that hypertension is becoming an increasing trend all over the world.

He said that the 2017 World Hypertension Day, with the theme: “Know Your Number’’ was aimed at promoting public awareness on hypertension as well as the prevention and control of the disease.

The World Hypertension Day was initiated by the World Hypertension League due to lack of appropriate knowledge among hypertensive patients.

The day is celebrated around the world on May 17 of every year.

According to him, hypertension is a condition where a person’s blood pressure is measured to be higher than 140 over 90 mmHg. “ This means the systolic reading of the pressure as the heart pumps blood around the body is over 140 mmHg and the diastolic reading as the heart relaxes and refills with blood is over 90 mmHg.The increasing prevalence of the condition has shown that people’s lifestyle and dietary factors have major roles to play. Such factors as physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use, and diets high in processed and fatty foods can contribute greatly to one’s blood pressure getting high overtime”, he said.

“It is important for the general public to have adequate knowledge of the dangers surrounding a high blood pressure and proactive measures in maintaining healthy blood pressure.

It is also important to know that we must adopt healthy diet by reducing our calories intake and embrace diet rich in vegetables and fresh fruits. This will go a long way in reducing the risk factors of being hypertensive,’’ Akinkunmi added.

He, however, urged the government to make control of hypertension a key national priority in order to prevent the number of heart attacks and stroke cases. “The government should come up with national health programmes that include public awareness on hypertension, its risk factors and access to adequate healthcare facilities for people living with high blood pressure.

He advised the public, especially people who have family history of heart related disease to go for comprehensive screening to ensure prevention.

Adults above 30 years should endeavour to know their blood pressure numbers in order to detect any unusual abnormality for proactive treatment,’’ the doctor said.