The prevalence of Hypertension in Nigeria is estimated to be 30 – 45%. According to this estimate, over a third of the population has hypertension. That is 1 in 3 Nigerians, an alarming number for a disease associated with severe effects. It is even worse when you realize that hypertension generally has no symptoms. Some people may complain about headaches, pulsations in the head or neck, and palpitations.
Your heart beats over 103,000 times a day, that’s at an average of 2.5 billion times in a lifetime.
Your heart never rests, and when we talk about organs you can depend on, your heart stands out. But there is a disease that can threaten your heart’s ability to remain the dependable organ that works even while you are asleep – Hypertension.
Hypertension is persistently high blood pressure.
The normal blood pressure range is between 90 – 120 mmHg for systolic blood pressure and 60 – 80mmHg for diastolic blood pressure. In Nigeria, hypertension is more common than you think.
The exact causes of hypertension are unknown. But, some risk factors can increase your chances of having hypertension. They are:
- High salt intake
- Excess intake of alcohol
The presence of these risk factors in your life will increase your chances of coming down with hypertension.
There is a lot of buzz about hypertension. You may have heard it described as the silent killer; weird if you ask me.
The popular question is, “Why is hypertension so dangerous?”
When hypertension is left untreated, it can cause many complications.
Your blood vessels are like a garden hose through which blood passes.
If the pressure with which blood flows increases, it can put the walls of your blood vessels under stress and cause them to bulge out, forming what is called an aneurysm (outpouching of the blood vessel). This aneurysm can rupture and lead to massive internal bleeding that is dangerous.
Over time, fatty deposits accumulate on the inner walls of your blood vessels, making them thicker and less flexible. This phenomenon is called atherosclerosis. Hypertension can cause or worsen atherosclerosis and increase your risk of developing cardiac problems like angina and heart attack due to insufficient blood supply, or blockage of the blood vessel, and brain problems like stroke.
The high pressure with which blood flows in hypertensive patients damages the blood vessels in the kidney and reduces its ability to work effectively. The situation may further deteriorate into kidney failure if it is not well managed.
Hypertension can damage the small vessels in the eye through the weakening of the walls, causing them to tear. This development can lead to vision loss.
As much as the heart is a trustworthy organ, hypertension can put a lot of stress on your heart. This added stress may cause the muscles in your heart to become bigger to keep up. Eventually, this can lead to heart failure because the muscles may become too weak or ineffective at pumping blood.
The blood vessels that supply the penis can get damaged or become thickened due to atherosclerosis, and this will affect your ability to have or maintain an erection.
Hypertension can affect your memory and your overall health as well.
The complications of hypertension can be severe. So, what can you do to prevent developing hypertension in the first place?
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce your salt intake
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat balanced meals
We are seeing an increase in the number of young people coming down with hypertension. So, no one is above a Blood Pressure check. Ensure that you check your blood pressure today. With the Doktorconnect 6-in-1 monitor, you can easily check your blood pressure, and sync with the Doktorconnect App for your doctor to have a clear picture of your heart history.
Author- Dr Okonkwor Oyor C