According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Global status report on noncommunicable diseases in 2010, Nigeria had the highest prevalence of hypertension in Africa, with an estimated 46% of adults aged 25 and above being hypertensive. In 2019, the results of a study on blood pressure of residents of Lagos showed the prevalence of hypertension was 55.0% on a random sample size of 5365.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 1.13 billion people worldwide have hypertension. In 2015, 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women had hypertension, with no fewer than 1 in 5 people with hypertension have the problem under control. This makes Hypertension is a major cause of premature death worldwide. Here are a few tips to help you battle this silent killer.
Eating properly is one of the easiest ways to prevent complications or treat hypertension. A healthy diet emphasizes foods that include: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins like fish or poultry. Consuming excess salt, stimulants, or supplements and obesity are additional factors that can lead to an increase in blood pressure in some individuals. Also, a plant-based diet is an easy way to increase fibre content and reduce or eliminate the amount of sodium and unhealthy saturated and trans-fat you take in from fast foods, dairy foods and processed meat.
Reduce Dietary Sodium
If you suffer from hypertension and are at risk of suffering from heart disease, you may need to keep daily sodium intake low, between 1,500 milligrams and 2,300 milligrams per day. Avoid eating restaurant food or prepackaged foods, which are often very high in sodium. Professor Graham MacGregor, the chairman of the Blood Pressure Association, and professor of cardiovascular medicine at Barts and the London School of Medicine wrote: “We have seven or eight different types of evidence that all point to the role of salt, and I know that if I cut your salt intake by half it reduces blood pressure.”
Reaching a Healthy Weight
If you are obese or at risk of obesity, weight loss through a healthy diet and exercising can help lower your chances of getting high blood pressure. Research has shown that there is a direct correlation between being overweight in young people and having high blood pressure.
Exercise and Increasing Physical Activity
Being physically active and exercising, apart from helping you reach a healthy weight can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure naturally, and strengthen your cardiovascular system. Moderate physical activity each week could be used, such as brisk walking, at least 30 minutes per day most days of the week. This can decrease systolic blood pressure by 4-9 points
Deal with Stress
When stressed, the body produces hormones that narrow the blood vessels and causes an increase in blood pressure, making the heart work harder to pump blood, which is not good for the body. Stress can also cause a lack of sleep which is associated with a higher incidence of increased blood pressure. Activities such as getting enough sleep, exercise, meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, massage and muscle relaxation are all proven stress-reducing techniques.
Adopting a Healthier Lifestyle
The chemicals in tobacco smoke are known to damage the body’s tissues and harden blood vessel walls and regular consumption of alcohol can raise the blood pressure of an individual and put the person at risk of suffering from hypertension.
Deal with Anger
Research shows it is people who are angry on the inside but don’t express it are more likely to develop hypertension. “Venting” is considered a good form of relief from anger. A good anger management program can help lower or normalize blood pressure, usually a three-step process: first, learn to recognize the anger and the situations that cause it; second, analyze the situation; third, reduce the anger. Another old trick is counting to 10 to distract you. Where possible, avoid the situation completely.