By Gabriel Chy Alonta
Ahaneku, who gave this warning in a chat with Orient Education in Awka, the Anambra state capital, said that high blood pressure was one of the medical conditions initially thought to be unique to blacks, an assumption she noted was wrong.
She also noted the common tendency to attribute high blood pressure to “too much thinking”, she stressed that the true cause of hypertension was not known the world over. She, however, pointed out that age, gender, menopause, family history, high salt intake, among others, could increase the risk factors associated with hypertension.
Her words, “The older you become, the more likely it is that you will develop hypertension. The condition is more common in males and by the time a woman passes reproductive stage or enters menopause, the chances of her having it narrows to that of man and that it why it is somehow estimated that female hormones are more protective.
“Again, someone whose family members have it is more likely to have it than people who does not have the family history. People who eat salt have a greater chance because salt is not healthy, so also with people who are fat as well as those who do not exercise. It is possible that stress can be added to the list of the factors associated with hypertension”.
According to her, once someone is hypertensive, he should go for checkup; lack of which affects some target organs like the eyes, brain, heart, kidney, the blood vessels, remarking, however, that someone can have high blood pressure and be oblivious of some of the complications until it strikes them down.
Describing hypertension as a silent killer, Ahaneku, who is also the current Head of Department of Internal Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra state, said that lack of proper care by patients could lead to complications such as stroke, heart failure and other major diseases.
Asked about the best treatment for high blood pressure, she said, “The patients have to be on drugs and keep going for checkups; this is why once someone comes to the hospital, their blood pressure is checked. Patients should not rely only on edibles such as garbage, garlic, for treatment. There are so many good drugs for managing it, which can only be administered after the doctor has examined the patient”.
She advised people to ensure they go for hypertension check up every three months, emphasising the importance of monitoring one’s high blood pressure especially towards the 35 to 40 years of age.