In the bustling streets of Nigeria’s urban centres, amidst the colourful markets and the rhythm of daily life, lurks a silent killer: hypertension. Commonly referred to as high blood pressure, hypertension has emerged as one of the primary Nigerian health concerns in recent years. But what factors are contributing to this rise, and why is hypertension in Nigeria especially alarming?
Understanding Hypertension: The Basics
Before delving into the nuances, it’s essential to understand what we mean when we talk about hypertension. In its simplest form, hypertension is consistently elevated blood pressure levels.
The normal blood pressure range is considered to be within the range of 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. Blood pressure is considered high when it is 140/80mmHg or higher, and low when it falls below 90/60mmHg.
Though often dubbed the silent killer because of its lack of apparent symptoms, it can lead to severe cardiovascular diseases if left unchecked.
High Blood Pressure in Nigeria: A Glimpse at the Numbers
Health campaigns and studies have revealed some startling statistics about hypertension in Nigeria. Reports suggest that a significant portion of the adult population has either hypertension or is at risk. The prevalence of blood pressure awareness in Nigeria is unfortunately low, which means many are unaware of their condition and the potential dangers it poses.
According to findings published by the National Library of Medicine, 53 studies covering a population of 78 949 Nigerians estimated an age‐adjusted prevalence of hypertension of 8.6% in 1995 representing 4.3 million persons aged 20 years and older. Age‐adjusted prevalence increased to 32.5% (27.5 million individuals) in 2020. 29.0% were already aware of their hypertension and 12.0% were on treatment
Factors Fueling the Hypertension Crisis
Several unique factors contribute to the increasing rates of hypertension in Nigeria:
1. Nigerian Diet and Blood Pressure: Traditional Nigerian meals are flavorful and rich. However, urbanization has seen a shift to processed foods, high in salt and unhealthy fats, contributing to elevated blood pressure levels.
2. Urban Living and Hypertension: As Nigeria’s cities expand, so do the stress levels of its residents. Urban living often means long commutes, increased pollution, and a sedentary lifestyle – all risk factors for hypertension.
3. Stress and Hypertension in Nigeria: Economic challenges, political instability, and the fast-paced nature of modern life especially in cities like Lagos contribute to rising stress levels, further aggravating the hypertension crisis.
The Need for Proactive Measures Against Hypertension in Nigeria
Prevention of hypertension in Nigeria should be a top priority. While medications can help manage the condition, the emphasis must be on lifestyle changes.
Hypertension might be a silent killer, but our response to it shouldn’t be silent at all. Proactivity is the best approach. This means that you should be very deliberate about getting blood pressure screenings to keep a close eye on your blood pressure even if you feel fine.
Eating healthy food while cutting down on your consumption of processed foods and snacks can help keep your blood pressure normal. Exercise and proper stress management are also very valuable in staying healthy.
Also avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco or consumption of other intoxicating substances as they can raise your blood pressure and compromise your health in general.
If you’re constantly stressed at work, home or in other aspects of your life, you should check your blood pressure daily if you can.
If you’ve already been diagnosed of Hypertension, managing the condition should be the next course of action. It can all seem very overwhelming keeping up with all the medication and making time for screenings but it doesn’t need to be. You don’t have to go at it alone.
Flourish Care Plan
At Healthtracka, we’ve designed a package called the Flourish Care Plan that helps you conveniently manage chronic conditions like Hypertension and Diabetes.
When you’re on this plan, you won’t have to worry about finding time to go to the hospital to monitor your health because you’ll receive care at home. This means monthly medications, regular medical tests, medical analysis and even your own assigned doctor to give you the best care!
Worry less and get well. Get started by signing up for Flourish Care Plan now