“My name is Kojo. I am a 30 year old, strong 💪 and healthy male. I just received an appointment letter to join a big law firm in town. In the letter I was requested to do a medical examination and present the results to the firm.
I have lots of old school mates who are doctors and health staff so I contacted one of them to just put something there and sign it off for me since the deadline was close. He insisted that I come over and do some basic investigations because signing off was not in my best interest. I arrived early morning, and had my vital signs checked. To cut a very long story short, my friend diagnosed me of having hypertension with early signs of heart enlargement. Hypertension? Huh? 😳 What the hell is that? I am only 30 years old !!! How come I have hypertension? Could this be the work of my home town witches (aka efie fuo)? Is this the end of the road for me? What did I do wrong? I don’t smoke. I only drink alcohol on Fridays when I’m with the boys. So why do I have hypertension? Would I be accepted by the firm? Where do I go from here? Hmmmm😩…. God have mercy🙏🏾
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is defined by the World Health Organization as a persistently raised blood pressure above the normal range. Blood pressure (BP) is a measure of the force with which the heart pumps blood against the force of the blood vessel walls (cardiac output multiplied by vessel wall resistance). For blood pressure to be normal, the force with which the heart pumps the blood should be normal and the force within the walls of the vessels should also be normal. If any of these forces is high, then one may develop high blood pressure.
What do the two (2) readings stand for?
I’m sure most of us have had our BP taken and noticed that 2 numbers were recorded (example 110/60 mmHg) But what do the numbers mean? Keep reading and you will know.
The figure on top (systolic) refers to how easily your arteries allow blood to flow through them. The lower the value the more easily blood flows through them. The normal value for easy flow is between 90-120mmHg.
The figure at the bottom (diastolic) refers to how well rested your heart is after every blood pump, which happens almost every second. The pressure at which your heart rests every second is normally between 60-80mmHg.
In simple English, the more the power needed to overcome or push blood through your arteries, the higher the upper value. Again, the less rest your heart gets after each work or pump, the higher the lower value.
So now you have it. BP 101! 🤓
Now, let’s take a closer look at the numbers.
If your BP is measured correctly, compare your values and know where you stand. If your values fall between normal and elevated, you are free for now. However, if your values correspond with high blood pressure, there is only one thing involved, see a doctor today!. Early diagnosis saves life.
How will I know if it’s being measured correctly?
We should all do well to know these little things to help get a correct BP reading. This goes for both the client/patient as well as the healthcare professional.
So next time, you check your BP either personally or at the clinic, be sure
- To wear a shirt that can be rolled up above the arm and rest the arm on the table making sure your arm is at the level of your heart
- Your bladder isn’t full ( simply go pee before you join the queue wai🤣)
- Sit straight with your back supported on the chair with your legs flat on the ground
- And finally be quiet… sshhhh🤐.. this is not the time to tell your story.. and of course, the one taking it must also be quiet too.
What type of hypertension do I have?
Yes for everything there are types and that includes hypertension. Even water has types 😂.
We have 3 types of hypertension
- Primary hypertension
- Secondary hypertension
- Hypertension in pregnancy
Primary hypertension or idiopathic or essential hypertension (all mean the same thing). Idiopathic is the big “brofo” (English) for “we don’t know the cause”. 😆🤦🏾♀️ This type of hypertension is more likely to be seen in older persons.
Secondary hypertension is simple English for hypertension due to something else. That something else may be kidney disease, some types of goiter, some drugs used by body builders and also Cushing’s syndrome – which is usually due to topical or oral abuse of high dose steroids like bleaching/toning creams (name depends on who you ask oo ).This type of hypertension can affect both the young and old but is usually implicated in the diagnosis of hypertension in young adults.
Hypertension in pregnancy 🤰🏾 is when you develop hypertension because of pregnancy or your normal hypertension is worse because of pregnancy.
As a Ghanaian proverb goes “agor) 3y3 d3 no….na ade 3sa nkurasefo ) translated literally, “as the show gets exciting, it gets late for the village folk”, let’s conclude this week with these take home points.
- Get yourself a BP monitor and check your blood pressure at least once a year if you have no risk factors✅
- Measure your blood pressure the correct way as shown above. (this is also usually written on the inlet of your machine).😎
- Go to a wellness clinic near you ( available in every government hospital or health directorate) to check your blood pressure if you can’t afford to buy a personal BP monitor now.✅✅
Until we meet again, stay safe and know your numbers. To be continued….