In Nigeria, many people are more scared of contracting HIV than they are of developing high blood pressure which has been referred to as the “silent killer”.
Silent because a lot of people are unaware when they develop elevated blood pressures which has been known to lead to organ failure for example Kidney, and even dementia from a stroke.
According to medicinenet.com, one in four people have high blood pressure which you will agree with me is a staggering ratio.
Untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke and is the commonest cause of death in the elderly.
Every human is predisposed to developing high blood pressure but it is more prevalent in middle aged and older people.
The blood pressure is read in 2 numbers, the first number measures the systolic pressure while the second, the diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the blood when the heart contracts and the later when the heart is relaxed.
Over the years, more attention has been kept on the diastolic, the number underneath, but research has shown that the commonest cause of death is the isolated systolic hypertension.
It is noted that the diastolic pressure, that is the smaller number increases but tends to decline at age 55 while the systolic increases with age and is the commonest high blood pressure suffered by the middle aged and the elderly.
While the normal blood pressure is pegged at 140/90 across all ages, 65% of people over 60 suffer from ISH.
HBP increases the risk of heart attack and stroke by interacting with other major risk factors such as diabetes and high level cholesterol.
Lifestyle changes would ameliorate these risk factors to a high extent while taking cognizance of the systolic blood pressure indicator especially when one is middle aged and above.
The normal blood pressure for all ages should be kept at 140/90, people with diabetes should keep theirs at 135/85 and those with kidney failure at the lowest level possible.
Once HBP is noticed, treatment should commence immediately irrespective of your age.
For more information visit medicinenet.com
Katchy Ohiaeri 2018
Katchy is a social critic who resides in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.