Did you know that about 76.2 million Nigerians, accounting for 38.1 percent of the estimated population of 200 million, suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure? Today, let's delve into what it truly means to have high blood pressure and understand its implications in a friendly and relatable manner.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, refers to blood pressure exceeding the normal range. Typically, your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day based on your activities; however, consistently elevated blood pressure readings may lead to a diagnosis of high blood pressure.
Blood pressure measurements fall into the following categories:
- Normal: Systolic pressure below 120 mm Hg and diastolic pressure below 80 mm Hg.
- Elevated: Systolic pressure between 120-129 mm Hg and diastolic pressure below 80 mm Hg.
- Stage 1: Systolic pressure between 130-139 mm Hg or diastolic pressure between 80-89 mm Hg.
- Stage 2: Systolic pressure of at least 140 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure of at least 90 mm Hg.
Hypertension among young adults has emerged as a significant public health concern worldwide in recent decades, and it is now one of the leading causes of death and disability. Often referred to as a silent killer due to its lack of pronounced symptoms and potentially fatal consequences, hypertension demands our attention. Even though it may not exhibit noticeable signs, it should never be ignored. Therefore, the importance of early detection and treatment of hypertension cannot be overstated.
Several risk factors contribute to high blood pressure. While some factors, like age and family history, are beyond our control, there are steps we can take to minimize the risks associated with modifiable factors. Let's explore the risk factors that make individuals more susceptible to high blood pressure:
- Unhealthy Diet: Consuming excessive sodium and inadequate potassium puts you at risk for high blood pressure. Sodium, found in table salt, can elevate blood pressure.
- Obesity: Carrying excess weight strains your heart and blood vessels, making them work harder to distribute blood and oxygen throughout your body. Over time, this added stress can lead to high blood pressure.
- Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of high blood pressure and damages the heart and blood vessels, compounding the health hazards.
- Lack of Physical Activity: Inactivity can lead to weight gain, elevating the risk of high blood pressure. Regular exercise, such as walking, running, swimming, dancing, or strength-building activities like weightlifting, can help mitigate these risks.
- Stress: High levels of stress can contribute to increased blood pressure. Stress-induced habits like overeating, smoking, or excessive alcohol consumption further elevate blood pressure levels.
- Race: Black individuals are particularly prone to high blood pressure, which often develops earlier in Black people than White individuals.
- Family History: If you have a parent or sibling with high blood pressure, your chances of developing the condition are significantly higher.
It is often said that our lifestyle choices play a crucial role in determining our risk of high blood pressure. To prevent and lower high blood pressure, young adults can adopt the following lifestyle changes:
- Embrace a heart-healthy diet with reduced salt intake.
- Increase consumption of vegetables and fruits.
- Regular physical activity, whether walking, running, swimming, dancing, or strength training exercises.
- Shed excess weight if overweight or obese.
- If you don't smoke, avoid starting. If you do smoke, quitting will significantly reduce your risk of heart.
We hope you've gained valuable insights into living a healthy lifestyle to prevent high blood pressure. Remember, monitoring your blood pressure is crucial. Visit your nearby HealthPlus Pharmacy today to conveniently track your blood pressure levels and receive professional advice.
Additionally, accessing quality healthcare at affordable costs is essential. You can sign up for the mutti+ program by clicking here to ensure you receive the care you need while maintaining your budget. Taking proactive steps toward your health has never been easier!