Nigeria is one of many developing countries where the health services have focused on treating infectious diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis, but in recent years, non-communicable conditions have become an increasing problem. One of the most prevalent non-communicable conditions worldwide, hypertension is responsible for an estimated 45% of deaths due to heart disease and 51% of deaths due to stroke globally.
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. If left untreated or uncontrolled, high blood pressure can cause many health problems. These conditions include heart failure, vision loss, stroke, and kidney disease.
Causes Of High Blood Pressure
The risk of developing hypertension increases as people age. The heart is a muscle that pumps blood around the body. Blood that has low oxygen levels is pumped towards the lungs, where oxygen supplies are replenished. The oxygen rich blood is then pumped by the heart around the body to supply our muscles and cells. The pumping of blood creates pressure. If a person has high blood pressure, it means that the walls of the arteries are receiving too much pressure on a constant basis. Even though there is no identifiable cause for essential high blood pressure, there is strong evidence linking some risk factors to the likelihood of developing the condition.
Most of the causes below are risk factors for high blood pressure.
Age: The older you are the higher your risk of having high blood pressure.
Obesity and overweight: Both overweight and obese people are more likely to develop high blood pressure, compared to people of normal weight.
Physical inactivity: Lack of exercise, as well as having a sedentary lifestyle, raises the risk of hypertension.
Smoking: Smoking causes the blood vessels to narrow, resulting in higher blood pressure. 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.
Alcohol intake: People who drink regularly have higher systolic blood pressure than people who do not, according to researchers. They found that systolic blood pressure levels are about 7 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) higher in people who drink frequently than in people who do not drink.
High Salt Intake: Researchers reported that societies where people do not eat much salt have lower blood pressures than places where people eat a lot of salt.
High Fat Diet: Many health professionals say that a diet high in fat leads to a raised high blood pressure risk. However, most dietitians stress that the problem is not how much fat is consumed, but rather what type of fats. Fats sourced from plants such as avocados, nuts, olive oil, and omega oils are good for you. Saturated fats, which are common in animal-sourced foods, are bad for you.
Diabetes: People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing hypertension. Among people with type 1 diabetes, high blood sugar is a risk factor for incident hypertension – effective and consistent blood sugar control, with insulin, reduces the long-term risk of developing hypertension. People with type 2 diabetes are at risk of hypertension due to high blood sugar, as well as other factors, such as overweight and obesity, certain medications, and some cardiovascular diseases.
Pregnancy: Pregnant women have a higher risk of developing hypertension than women of the same age who are not pregnant. It is the most common medical problem encountered during pregnancy, complicating 2 to 3 percent of all pregnancies.
HOW TO REDUCE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE
If you are in this 130/80 range, reducing your blood pressure can help protect you from heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, eye disease, and even cognitive decline. The goal of the new guidelines is to encourage you to treat your high blood pressure seriously and to take action to bring it down, primarily using lifestyle interventions.
Get Moving: It doesn’t take much exercise to make a difference in your health.
According Fisher a cardiologist, he said;
“Aim for a half-hour at least five days a week. Make sure you’re doing something you love, or it won’t stick, for some that means dancing; for others, biking or taking brisk walks with a friend. Even everyday activities such as gardening can help”.
Lift More Iron: Add some weight lifting to your exercise regimen to help lose weight and stay fit. Women lose muscle mass steadily as we age, and weight lifting is an often-overlooked part of an exercise plan for most women,” says Fisher.
Limit Alcohol Intake: Drinking too much, too often, can increase your blood pressure, so practice moderation.
Relieve Stress With Daily Meditation Or Deep Breathing Sessions: Stress hormones constrict your blood vessels and can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure. In addition, over time, stress can trigger unhealthy habits that put your cardiovascular health at risk. These might include overeating, poor sleep, and misusing drugs and alcohol. For all these reasons, reducing stress, should be a priority if you’re looking to lower your blood pressure.