Cardiologists at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) have stressed that while Nigerians focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, they should constantly check their blood pressure to prevent hypertension, describing it as a “silent killer”.
They gave the advice in commemoration of the 2020 World Hypertension Day – an annual event aimed at educating the public and increasing awareness of hypertension and its effects when it is not quickly diagnosed, with the theme: “Know Your Numbers.’
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a global public health issue and a silent killer, in which most affected individuals show no symptoms. It is also the most important preventable cause of heart disease and stroke globally.
Speaking, a Consultant Physician and Cardiologist at LASUTH; Dr. Folasade Adeola Daniel, emphasised the importance of knowing one’s systolic (the top number or highest blood pressure when the heart is squeezing and pushing the blood round the body) and diastolic (the bottom number or lowest blood pressure between heart beats) blood pressure, as it would help people become aware of their health status.
Daniel, who is also a Senior Lecturer at the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM), added that when people are aware of their blood pressure, they could seek appropriate medical attention immediately to avert death.
She further said that, though the COVID-19 Pandemic has hampered several activities that have been put in place to celebrate the day both locally and internationally, the May Measurement Month will still be encouraged to happen, albeit on a smaller scale.
Also speaking, a consultant physician and cardiologist at LASUTH and lecturer at LASUCOM, Dr. Adeola Ajibare, said the World Hypertension League (WHL) has encouraged people to get involved in May Measurement Month (MMM), which implies that the whole month of May has been dedicated to measurement of the blood pressure of the populace.
He said despite the social distancing restrictions that has led to a drastic reduction in the contact doctors should have with patients, the home blood pressure monitor is recognised as a tool in the diagnosis and monitoring of elevated blood pressure.
“We are still able to offer consultations through telephone and other social media platforms; we will still continue to motivate the populace to check, know and control their numbers whenever we find ourselves either in the media or through our website,” Ajibare said.
They, however, advised Nigerians to stay healthy, as the WHO has recommended healthy diet, no alcohol, physical activity, no tobacco and stress management as steps to minimise the odds of developing high blood pressure and its adverse consequences.