You may know or have heard of hypertension or know/have known someone who has the condition.
Hypertension or High Blood Pressure affects 25% of the adult population and over 50% people with hypertension are undiagnosed
But what do you really know about one of the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the modern world?
Hypertension is described as having two measurements separated by five minutes that both exceeds 139/89, but there is a catch measures that are between 130-139/80-89
are what is called pre-hypertension. This means that ideally the normal Blood Pressure should be between 100-129/60-79
What Causes Hypertension?
The medical answer is hypertensive patients, 90% have essential hypertension; the remainder have hypertension secondary to causes such as renal parenchymal disease, renovascular disease, pheochromocytoma, Cushing syndrome, primary hyperaldosteronism, coarctation of the aorta, and uncommon autosomal-dominant or -recessive diseases of the adrenal-renal axis that result in salt retention.
In simple words hypertension is due to long effect of high salt intake, sedentary life and can be either from one of these or both.
What to Do?
- First thing is to visit your nearby health facility and do a health check up.
- Reduce your salt intake to 6g of salt per day
- Engage in physical activities (walk more, jog and cycling are few of the easier ways to introduce in your daily routines); find ways to introduce new exercise in your habits (like taking stairs). Exercise should at least be 30 minutes per day
- Weight loss (target BMI 20-25)
- Reduction of alcohol intake to no more than 30ml of alcohol for men and 15ml for women
- Stop smoking
- Reduce dietary intake of saturated fat (mainly fat from animal) and cholesterol
Complications for Uncontrolled Hypertension
- Retinal Damage
- Kidney damage
- Heart failure and heart attack
- Sexual dysfunctions
Written by Emmanuel Bunani Mwizerwa, a medical student at University of Rwanda Year6