17th May is World Hypertension Day and please do not panic. This is not a stress-filled day that aims at increasing your blood pressure but rather it’s a day set aside to increase awareness of a serial yet silent killer. That is exactly what Hypertension it; its killing the young and old at an alarming rate yet in most instances people with high blood pressure may feel absolutely well.
The theme for this year is “Measure your blood pressure accurately, control it, live longer”
Do these when you take your blood pressure since the accuracy of the reading matters:
Global statistics show that only 50% of those with hypertension are actually aware and that awareness in some areas may be as low as 10% while awareness may exceed 75% in a few areas. The bitter truth is some people do not have enough information about the condition, a significant number do not have easy access to measuring their blood pressure and a few stubborn ones think it’s better not to know if something is going wrong.
What do we need to understand about our blood pressure numbers? There are ALWAYS two numbers in a blood pressure reading such as 120/80mmHg. The top figure represents the force of the blood against the artery (blood vessel) walls as your heart beats and the lower value represents the force on the walls in between beats or while the heart rests. Both numbers are important.
Essentially when your blood pressure is higher than it should normally be all organs in the body are exposed to elevated pressures since arteries supply blood to every part of the body. These sustained high pressures will be causing harm gradually every minute of the day.
Prevention of high blood pressure is based mainly on adopting the appropriate lifestyle, while having regular medical check-ups to pick up conditions that can may lead to hypertension if not tackled early. Management of hypertension on the other hand requires a three-pronged attack in most situations;
Age and our genes may have a way of increasing our blood pressure or predisposing us to hypertension, but since we have no control over the choice of our family and years rolling by, it may be worth focusing on the above three that we can control to a large extent.
Exercise need not be rushing to the gym to sweat out only, but taking walks, gardening, cleaning your home, using the stairs and many others. Exercise increases heart function and lowers blood pressure but there is a little hitch: the benefits of exercise on blood pressure do not last beyond 72 hours. In short frequency is the watch word. Do not be a once a week or once a month exercise fan. The effect of exercise on the heart does not rely on past glory so if you were an athlete years ago but you have now become one with your sofa, I am sorry to disappoint you but you need to get moving NOW!
All types of exercises will benefit you and lower your blood pressure but a word of caution here;
When all is said and done, you can never know our blood pressure without measuring or checking it. Take a few minutes to check your blood pressure and ensure at least one other person checks their blood pressure before the end of the month.
Associations, companies and all identifiable groups should ensure they check their blood pressure and go an extra mile and as a corporate social responsibility help to check the blood pressure of hundreds or even thousands of people. You will be saving lives.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, ENSURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Health Essentials Ltd/ Mobissel
*Dr. Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise.
Thought for the week – 1. “Don’t lose out on laughter, the benefits match Exercise, Meditation & Sex all rolled into one.”