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Hypertension: a death sentence or not?

Dr Freeman Osonuga

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Living a healthy life happens on purpose. It’s helpful to realize that unhealthy lifestyles do not suddenly or immediately cause havoc to a man’s health but the negative effects gradually build up over a period of time.

 

How is hypertension also known as high blood pressure diagnosed? It usually does not give any symptom except when the blood pressure is dangerously high and as such the best way to know whether one is hypertensive or not is to check one’s blood pressure regularly. If it’s normal, regular checks should be done every three to five years.

 

A single reading of high blood pressure isn’t enough to say someone is hypertensive, repeatedly high blood pressure readings at intervals of many days apart is required.

 

A diagnosis of hypertension is not a death sentence as many with such have successfully lived with well controlled blood pressure for many years without developing any complications. However, to live with well controlled blood pressure is to live deliberately and responsibly.

 

Let’s have a look at some healthy living tips that help to keep hypertension in check.

Low Salt Diet: this has been found to be helpful in people with hypertension to bring down the blood pressure. Reducing daily salt intake is very helpful in the management of hypertension. However because people’s taste of low salt is subjective, what is low salt to be someone might not be to another, as such, some have advocated for a total removal of salt in diets to help people live with high blood pressure.

 

Low Fat Diet: It’s quite helpful to reduce intake of fatty foods such as fries and snacks. Too much fat increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. It is however beneficial to eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains regularly.

 

Quit Smoking: Smoking unfortunately has no health benefits, if you are diagnosed of hypertension, one of the ways to help yourself and prevent further health challenges is to stop smoking outrightly. People who quit smoking have substantial increase in life expectancy.

 

Reduce Alcohol Intake: it’s also very helpful to significantly reduce intake of alcohol for all those who are hypertensive. Drinking too much alcohol can raise the blood pressure. Alcohol can also lead to excessive weight gain which is a risk factor for hypertension; it interferes with the effectiveness of medications while making their side effects more pronounced.

 

Increase Exercise: Many people live a sedentary lifestyle of little or no physical activity. Increasing daily bodily exercise has been found to be helpful in improving a person’s general well-being. Brisk walking of about 30 minutes daily, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing are forms of useful exercises.

 

Reduce Excessive Weight: For those who are overweight or obese, reducing weight reduces significantly the tendency to develop other co-morbidities along with the hypertension. A combination of healthy eating and exercise will help to shed excessive weight.

 

 

However, in addition to these lifestyle modifications, it’s important to note that drug therapy whether with single or combined drugs will be required to keep the blood pressure in check.
Healthy living, regular blood pressure checks and strict drug compliance are the bedrocks of successful living with well controlled blood pressure in those who are diagnosed to be hypertensive. Hypertension is not a death sentence!

 

Take responsibility. Check your blood pressure today.

 

Stay healthy and be safe!

 

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Dr Freeman Osonuga is a multi-award winning Humanitarian, Social Enterprise Consultant, International Public Speaker and Medical Professional. An Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society, a One Young World Ambassador, a WIRED 2015 Innovation Fellow, 2014 TIME Magazine Person of the Year and One of the 2013 Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Nigeria. He is also a recipient of Meritorious Service Award from President Bai Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone and One of the Fabulous and Inspiring People of Colour of the Year 2015. Dr Freeman advocates for health care services to be fully accessible and affordable by all. He can be reached on the following social media platforms. Instagram: freemanosonuga, Twitter: @freeman_osonuga, Facebook: Freeman Osonuga, Website: www.freemanosonuga.org

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