As high blood Pressure or hypertension is becoming a problem among young people in Nigeria, a consultant family physician, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Dr. Chira Obiora, has cited lifestyle changes as a major factor.
Obiora explained that high blood pressure is actually divided into two major parts – the essential hypertension and the non-essential hypertension. The essential hypertension, Obiora said is an hypertension that is basically due to lifestyle or environmental factors with little genetic compound while the non – essential hypertension is basically due to secondary causes like kidney disease, renal disease and other diseases.
“The current rise in hypertension among the younger generation is largely due to lifestyle changes.
“The lifestyle of the youths have changed. It’s not like how our fathers use to when they were younger. Youths are now living sedentary lifestyle; indulging in things that affect their kidneys. For example, taking excessive alcohol, substance abuse. These are some of the things that can also lead to high blood pressure.
“Food intake also; some of them now take foods that contain a lot of salt (sodium chloride) based on eating junks. These are indicated in blood pressure because the kidney cannot handle that.
“Also, some other diseases are also coming higher in the lives of the younger ones like the renal diseases and the rest of them. Some are now coming down with sugar handling diseases like diabetes, and diabetes goes hand in hand with hypertension. These are some of the things that lead to or contribute to having high prevalence of hypertension among younger age in Nigeria. “
On the way out, Obiora identified changing of lifestyle, regular checking of blood pressure, regular activities and dietary modification as key.
The physician noted that time has passed when people bellow 30 or 40 years will feel they don’t have business with checking of BP, while urging that blood pressure should be checked as regular as possible.
He informed that there is a new development in hypertension called MISSED now, explaining that MISSED is a very dangerous hypertension where the blood pressure will appear normal in the hospital whereas the person’s blood pressure is actually not normal.
This development, Obiora said has encouraged the call for people to get blood pressure monitoring apparatus at home so that they can check regularly.
“We should make it mandatory to check our blood pressure regularly. At least twice a month. By checking, there will be a lot of consciousness and some of these problems can be picked when they are still coming up.
“For us to change our lifestyle, improve on our activities and food intake; dietary modification, reduce use of salt, eat more of food that are low in carbohydrate and reduce cholesterol intake. For instance, the cholesterol in egg is enormous and your body need just 300miligram of cholesterol a day, when you fill up the body need with egg, then with cholesterol from other things like meat and others, you will always be having excess of cholesterol and these are some of the risk factors resulting in hypertension, “ he explained.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “Normal blood pressure in adults is measured by millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded in two numbers. The first is the systolic blood pressure (the highest pressure in blood vessels), which is the pressure when the heart contracts. It ideally ranges between 115 and 120 mmHg.
“The second is the diastolic blood pressure (the lowest pressure in blood vessels), which is the pressure while the heart relaxes and dilates. It ideally ranges between 75 and 80 mmHg. Blood pressure is considered high if the systolic measurement is 140 mmHg or more and/or the diastolic measurement is 90 mmHg or more.”