The death of decorated former soccer star and coach, Stephen Keshi, 54, this morning (Wednesday, June 8) in Benin city (Edo) from cardiac arrest influenced by hypertension and broken heart, has again put in perspective the danger of managing high blood pressure.
The silent killer may go undetected for years, only to result in heart disease and cardiac arrest which eventually claims the patient.
Here are some points to note about high blood pressure (hypertension)…
1. Blood pressure is defined as the ” amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries”.
2. So, the more the blood pumped by the heart into narrower arteries, the higher the blood pressure.
3. People have hypertension for years without any symptoms – but it continues to ravage the body, and can lead to stroke and heart attack.
4. High blood pressure can easily be detected as there are gadgets which reads blood pressure, and they are cheap and readily available. Hospitals usually check blood pressure even before patients see doctors.
5. It can also be controlled with a disciplined lifestyle, diet and physical exercises combined with medication.
6. Once you regularly have headaches, nosebleeds, difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention urgently.
7. Once you are over 40, and you are black, you should get your own blood pressure reading gadget. And you should check in both arms regularly.
8. Those younger with history of high blood pressure in their family should also regularly check.
9. Everyone is susceptible to high blood pressure as they grow older. But hypertension can also appear suddenly.
10. Various health challenges and medication can escalate hypertension – sleeping disorder, kidney disease, diabetes, illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroine and Indian hemp and alcohol abuse.
11. Being overweight, smoking, physically lazy , eating too much salt, too little vitamin D and potassium, stress and depression multiply hypertension.
12. More complications occur when hypertension is not properly addressed – it can affect your thinking ability, and eventually memory loss.
13. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg; pre- hypertension is 120-139/80-89 mm Hg; stage 1 hypertension is 140-159/90-99 mm Hg and stage 2 is 160 or higher/ 100 or higher mm Hg.
14. You should consult your doctor often once your blood pressure falls into the pre hypertension stage.