Hypertension the silent killer.
High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. Blood pressure is the amount of force exerted against the walls of the arteries as blood flows through them.
According to businessdayonline health page, Hypertension prevalence in Nigeria is about 30–45%, but only about half of Nigerians know this, primarily because it rarely causes any noticeable symptoms and is usually detected only incidentally during a routine physical examination.
When hypertension is left untreated, it promotes atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and destruction of tiny blood vessels in the eye, which can result in vision loss.
For these reasons hypertension is often called “the silent killer.”
It is therefore important to check your blood pressure on a regular basis, at least 3 times year. If you have risk factors for high blood pressure, including being overweight, sedentary or if you have a family history of hypertension or heart disease, you should have it checked more often.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Age: The older you are, the higher your risk of having high blood pressure
Family history: If you have close family members with hypertension, your chances of developing it are significantly higher
Obesity: Both overweight and obese people are more likely to develop high blood pressure, compared to people of normal weight.
Smoking: Smoking also reduces the blood’s oxygen content so the heart has to pump faster in order to compensate, causing a rise in blood pressure.
Other causes can be alcohol intake, high salt intake, high fatty diets, etc.
Noticeable symptoms of High Blood Pressure
- Headache – usually, this will last for several days.
- Nausea – a sensation of unease and discomfort in the stomach with an urge to vomit.
- Vomiting – less common than just nausea.
- Dizziness – Lightheadedness, unsteadiness,
- Blurred or double vision (diplopia).
- Epistaxis – nosebleeds.
- Palpitations – disagreeable sensations of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart.
Although high blood pressure cannot be cured, it can be controlled with lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication. Be sure to see your doctor for regular checkups and to monitor your blood pressure.