In its message to mark the International Hypertension Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) has urged citizens to lead healthy lifestyles.
According to WHO, 39 percent of Zimbabweans may be suffering from the silent killer which is one of the leading causes of death in the country.
The non-communicable disease has no symptoms and overtime if untreated, can cause health conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
In an interview with a local publication, a general practitioner, Dr Tatenda Simango said high uptake of salt, obesity, acute pain and stress can also trigger hypertension.
“Blood pressure tends to run in families and children of hypertensive parents tend to have higher blood pressure than age-matched children of parents with normal blood pressure. This familial concordance of blood pressure may be explained, at least in part, by shared environmental influences,” he said.
Dr Simango added that adults should have blood pressure measured routinely at least every five years until the age of 80 years.
“Low birth weight is associated with subsequent high blood pressure. This relationship may be due to foetal adaptation to intrauterine under-nutrition with long-term changes in blood vessel structure or in the function of crucial hormonal systems.”
Recently, WHO raised concern over the increasing number of people suffering from hypertension.
WHO said most people with hypertension are unaware of the problem because it may have no warning signs or symptoms.
“It is essential that blood pressure is measured regularly so that members of the public are aware of their condition which may prevent deaths.”
WHO suggested that people should follow a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight as obesity increases one’s risk to hypertension.
What is hypertension?
When the systolic blood pressure is 140 mm Hg or more and diastolic BP is 90 mm Hg or more, that stage is known as hypertension. When systolic blood pressure is between 120 to 139 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure is between 80 to 89 mm Hg, it is known as the prehypertension stage.
It is important to take appropriate measures to control the disease in the prehypertension stage. Currently, more than 30 percent of the world’s adult population is suffering due to hypertension which amounts to 1 billion people.
How to lower hypertension?
Maintain an active lifestyle: To keep the disease at bay, it is important to be active. Dedicate at least 30 minutes or 1 hour to yourself. Exercise or take a walk. You can also practice yoga and Zumba dance.
Maintain a healthy diet: Add more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low-fat dairy products to your diet. It is important to lower your salt intake. Avoid oily foods
Stop smoking and drinking: Both of these activities lead to high blood pressure in addition to various other diseases like cancer.
Take medication regularly: If a doctor has prescribed you medication to keep the blood pressure in control, it is of utmost importance that you do it without fail. Don’t stop taking medicines without the advice of your doctor