Today marks World Hypertension Day, a day set aside to raise global awareness about hypertension, a silent killer that affects millions of people worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, hypertension is a major risk factor for premature mortality among adults across the globe. The theme of this year’s World Hypertension Day is ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer’, which emphasizes the importance of early detection and management of hypertension.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, occurs when the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is too high. Over time, hypertension can cause damage to the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other organs, leading to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and vision loss. Hypertension is often referred to as a silent killer because it rarely causes symptoms until it has caused severe damage to the body.
In Nigeria, hypertension is a growing health concern, with an estimated 1 in 3 adults affected. Despite its high prevalence, many people in Nigeria are unaware of their hypertension status and its associated risks. This is partly due to the fact that hypertension rarely causes noticeable symptoms, and also because of a lack of access to healthcare facilities and screening programs. As a result, hypertension often goes undiagnosed and untreated until it is too late.
World Hypertension Day: Combating Hypertension
To combat the rising burden of hypertension in Nigeria, health managers are advocating for increased availability and use of digital blood pressure measurement devices across healthcare facilities to scale up screening and monitoring. These devices can provide accurate and reliable blood pressure readings, which are essential for early detection and management of hypertension.
Nze Mcdonald, a medical practitioner spoke on how digital blood pressure measurement devices are a game-changer for hypertension management in Nigeria. “Digital blood pressure monitors are easy to use, affordable, and provide accurate readings. They can help identify people with hypertension early on and enable healthcare providers to monitor blood pressure levels over time. This is crucial for preventing the complications of hypertension and improving health outcomes.”
In addition to digital blood pressure measurement devices, other strategies to combat hypertension in Nigeria include public awareness campaigns, screening programs, and the provision of affordable hypertension medications. The government, in partnership with healthcare providers and other stakeholders, is taking steps to address this issue. For example, the Nigerian government recently launched the National Hypertension Control Initiative, which aims to reduce the prevalence of hypertension in Nigeria by 50% by 2025. The initiative includes strategies such as community-based screening programs, training for healthcare providers, and the provision of affordable hypertension medications.
Demographic transition, rapid unplanned urbanization, and the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles are factors that are escalating the burden of hypertension as well as other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Nigeria. These trends have led to an increase in risk factors for hypertension, such as physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and tobacco use. According to the WHO, Nigeria has one of the highest rates of tobacco use in the world, with an estimated 4.5 million adults using tobacco products.
To address these risk factors, the Nigerian government is implementing policies and programs aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles. These include initiatives such as tobacco taxation, public education campaigns, and the promotion of physical activity and healthy diets.
As we commemorate World Hypertension Day 2023, it is important to raise public awareness about hypertension and its associated risks. People need to know why raised blood pressure is dangerous and how to take steps to control it. By measuring blood pressure accurately, controlling it, and living a healthy lifestyle, we can reduce the burden of hypertension and other NCDs in Nigeria, and ultimately, improve the health and well-being of our communities.
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This is a serious Problem. It’s very Vital for one to know their BP status. Especially pregnant Ladies. It is very lethal for a Pregnant lady to have Hypertensive. If one can’t do weekly BP check then they should get the measuring device at home.