It’s like a storm that comes without a warning. No gray clouds from a distant off or crackling of thunder. You don’t have time to put your house in order. It attacks your health insurance plan and rampages the hearts of your family and friends who feel helpless for not being able to do anything. That’s the damage that hypertension leaves as it trots away to the next unaware victim. Hypertension has been noted to be a major contributor to the bulk of NCD (non-communicable diseases) deaths, rising from 35% in 2003 to 45% in 2010 in a study conducted here in Kenya. As blood circulates in your body through the arteries, it exerts a force commonly known as blood pressure, but when the pressure within the blood vessels is high, that’s Hypertension.
As we have cemented the fact that this “storm” has no forewarning banners and signs, it’s advisable and essential to monitor ones blood pressure regularly or with the assistance of a health professional. In rare cases, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), when the symptoms do occur, they are can be noted with early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms and vison changes. In severe hypertension, extreme signs of fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain and muscle tremors can be noted.
In order to fully grasp the cause of hypertension, both the modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors need to be addressed. The WHO indicates that unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and being overweight are some of the modifiable factors. Under the non-modifiable factors, family history of hypertension, age over 65 years and co-existing diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease can put an individual at risk for hypertension.
Hypertension is a global crisis with WHO current trends statistics indicating that, adults with hypertension increased from 594 million in 1975 to 1.13 billion in 2015, and this rise is seen predominantly in low and middle-income countries. The good news is, there is a way to curb this crisis. Preventive measures have to be taken which include, reducing salt intake, eating more fruits and vegetables, engaging in physical exercises daily, reducing alcohol consumption and limiting the intake of foods high in saturated and trans-fats in diet. For individuals who have hypertension, successfully managing it by reducing mental stress, regular check of blood pressure, treating high blood pressure with prescribed medication will promote longevity and improve quality of life. Effective management of other medically underlying conditions will promote controlling of hypertension effectively.
As outlined above, with the right management and prevention, we can snub the silent killer that is hypertension