Hypertension: Expert advises on regular check-ups

A consultant physician geriatrician at the National Hospital, Abuja, Ms. Ogugua Osi-Ogbu, has advised Nigerians to know their blood pressure in order to manage and prevent hypertension. Ms Osi-Ogbu said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja. She explained that hypertension, which is also called high blood pressure, is the sustained or persistent elevation of the blood pressure above the normal range of 120/80 to 140/90mHg.

“The condition occurs when the force of blood on the walls of the arteries is too high; hence the need to always be aware of the numbers. “Every adult needs to know the numbers that change the pressure and reduce risk factors of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension is a common health problem; someone could have it and may not be aware because the symptoms are not so obvious, but referred to as the silent killer,” she said. She said there were two types of hypertension that included the primary hypertension, which in most cases the cause of the condition was unknown.

According to her, the other is the secondary hypertension that is caused by the medical conditions that affect the heart, kidney, arteries and endocrine system. Ms Osi-Ogbu, while explaining how the numbers changes into high blood pressure, said anything that works against the blood flow in the arteries could lead to hypertension such as particles of fat, cholesterol and protein. The expert added that such plaques makes it harder for the heart to push blood through the arteries thus reducing or blocking blood flow while causing the blood pressure to rise.

She listed steps to prevent high blood pressure to include; regular exercise, reduced alcohol intake, healthy diet, avoiding tobacco, limited salt intake and management of stress in healthy ways. Ms Osi-Ogbu, however, advised on self-monitoring by the use of a portable digital device called sphygmomanometer as well as regular medical check-up in order to detect any abnormality early. “Two major numbers read on the device are diastole and systole. Even though the blood pressure changes throughout the day, systolic pressure should not be higher than 120mmHg, while diastolic pressure not higher than 80mmHg. “If the numbers are frequently or permanently above 140/90mmHg then, such person have high blood pressure.”

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