Hello and welcome back to my blog.🥰 Last week, we had an interesting read on hypertension, the different types of hypertension, and how to correctly measure BP. This week we will delve a bit deeper. If you didn’t read the previous post, click here https://hectoriaawekeya.com/dying-in-silence/ to catch up.
Factors that increase your chances of getting hypertension.
The risk factors for hypertension is quite tall so I will stick to 5 common ones in our settings:
1. Family history: If your mum, dad, sibling, etc has /had hypertension, you are more likely to develop hypertension. As one senior Doctor I work with put it; “if it was money, you would want to inherit so don’t be angry if your chances are higher because of family history”. Having a positive history puts you at twice the risk of developing hypertension (CDC, gov/pcd/issues/2005/apr/pdf/04_0134_01.
- Excessive alcohol consumption (apio, bitters, beer, you name them🤣). I am sure you want to read more on this but I will find a day to talk about this extensively👍 so stay tuned to the blog.
- Excessive dietary salt.
Some people will use other salted condiments and reduce salt believing a lie that they don’t like salt. Lol. Emphasis is on salt, hence whatever food additives such as salad dressings, sauces, etc. that contain salt are implicated. Read more on the implication of excess salt here https://hectoriaawekeya.com/tasty-foe
- Physical inactivity and obesity.
In simple language, if you move you lose positively (weight and BP). Studies have shown that physical inactivity is associated with about 34% increased risk of developing hypertension (Medina, Janssen, Barquera, González, & González, 2018).
- High Cholesterol levels.
Let me quickly point out that you don’t have to be overweight to have high cholesterol. Individuals with normal BMI can have high cholesterol. You will never know until you have checked.
First of all, take a deep breath and calm down. Knowledge is power, precious one, so get some trusted sources (like you are doing now) and read. Hosea 4:6 ‘For lack of knowledge my people perish’🙏🏾
At first diagnosis, the doctor will request for some tests to try and find a possible cause and also to assess the extent of damage to your organs if any. These may include kidney, heart, and eye tests. You would then be put on lifestyle modifications and/or medications depending on the Doctor’s clinical judgment.
An important part of your management will involve a visit to a dietician or nutritionist. Several studies have shown that adhering to lifestyle modifications alone in pre-hypertension can reverse this state. Again, instituting lifestyle modification in an established diagnosis of hypertension helps reduce hypertension. Usually, these modifications are recommended to you as soon as you are diagnosed and would usually start with the easiest one, dietary modifications.
Lifestyle modification for hypertension
- Reduce salt intake (refer to my article on salt where I give tips on how to do this effectively https://hectoriaawekeya.com/tasty-foe.
- STOP smoking. Cut out tobacco completely and reduce alcohol intake.
- Increase physical activity. Again, you are sorted on this one lol (https://hectoriaawekeya.com/keep-moving/). Physical activity needs to be taken slowly after a visit to the eye clinic as well as some level of control of the BP if it’s really high.
- Weight management which includes maintenance if you have normal weight. If overweight or obese, then weight loss is required.
- Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables. More on https://hectoriaawekeya.com/rainbow-%f0%9f%8c%88/
For persons who require treatment or are already on treatment, adhering to the above lifestyle modifications will complement the effect of the medications and help you manage the condition well.
Complications of hypertension
These are the short or long term damage hypertension has on different parts of the body and on the individual as a whole. They include:
These can occur at every stage of hypertension and not only when you have very high BP readings. That is why it is important to treat hypertension to target values.
In many instances, BP is said to be controlled/ on target if measurements are consistently 130/80mmHg and below. Most people will require more than one type of medication in order to achieve target values. Dear reader, please relax when your doctor wants to adjust your doses or medications wai. “Wey tin we gain” if you are on treatment and yet your BPs are perpetually above 140/90mmHg?😝
With regards to hypertension, it should be noted, that erectile dysfunction in men can either be caused by poorly controlled hypertension or by some medications. If it’s caused by hypertension, it may be permanent. However, if it’s caused by medications, it is usually reversible. So please, take your medications to prevent permanent damage. We can always change your medications if it is the cause of the problem🤩
Living with hypertension
Some persons diagnosed with hypertension may wonder whether to disclose this to their employers. It is your choice but it’s in your own interest to do so. A reasonable employer will use this information to appropriately plan your duties.
Hypertension cannot be cured but it can be managed. Therefore, patients need to continue with treatment or lifestyle modifications as advised by their doctor and attend regular follow up, usually for life.
The majority of people living with hypertension are undiagnosed because of our poor health-seeking behaviors😔. It is deadly but hardly shows any signs when it first creeps up on you. In other words, you won’t know until you measure your BPs. When you get the opportunity to have a medical examination or report done, get it done properly. 💪🏾
Flee from the idea of a doctor friend/ ‘asore ba’ (Christian brethren) just writing it off for you with no investigations done. You may miss an opportunity to save your life.✅
Until I come your way again with another exciting and informative piece, know your numbers, and keep safe.🤗