Blood Pressure often referred to as hypertension or BP is a cardiovascular disease that has claimed lives in various communities currently.
The disease, well known to be affecting the aged, has now become an issue for the youth mostly between the age of 16- 35 years.
What has been the twist in the 21st century? Could it be the food, lack of exercise, or the environment in which one lives that cause sudden changes in the lifestyle of the youth?
In order to find pertinent answers to these questions, The Ghana Report reached out to Madam Kate Odoom, a Nurse with the Dansoman Polyclinic to speak on the issue of what has caused the rise in Blood Pressure (BP) cases among the youth.
According to Nurse Kate Odoom, Blood Pressure is a disease of vascular regulation in which the mechanisms that control arterial pressure within the normal range are altered or affected in the human body.
The arteries normally carry blood from one’s heart to other parts of the body.
The arteries sometimes become affected due to the intake of some solid or liquid foods that are prescribed as not too good for health.
She explained that cardiovascular disease is a condition that affects the heart and basically its functions.
Speaking on what has changed that has led to the increase in the disease among the youth she said, “Lifestyle modifications, poor dietary intake, poor stress management, denial of diagnosis, not adhering to prescribed medications and poor knowledge and education on the condition of BP and its complications'” have led to an upsurge in the medical condition.
Kate advised overweight or obese people to exercise often because as the volume of blood circulating through their blood vessels increases so does the pressure on the artery walls.
Speaking about people in general who are inactive and lack energetic activities, she advised that individuals must engage in physical activities to keep their blood circulating at all times.
Moreover, she said the use of tobacco can damage the lining of the artery walls which in turn causes arteries to narrow thereby increasing blood pressure in the life of the smoker and that of the passive smoker who accidentally inhales the smoke.
In addition, she said, “Too much salt (Sodium) in the diet causes the body to retain fluid which increases blood pressure.”
“High cholesterol food increases cholesterol in the blood and this form deposits on the arteries causing hypertension which is blood pressure”.
” Poor management of stress leads to the release of catecholamines and this increases peripheral resistance (arteries) leading to high blood pressure.”
“Excessive alcohol intake can also lead to high blood pressure in the sense that it affects nutrition leading to problems with arteries and causing high blood pressure. Alcohol can damage the kidney, liver, and other vital organs in the body required for proper circulation.”
In March 2023, the World Health Organisation estimated that about 1.28 billion adults aged 30–79 years worldwide have hypertension.
The number of patients at various health facilities keeps increasing and the majority tend to lose their lives.
Blood Pressure is now besetting children below the age of thirteen years.
An article published in the Journal of Hypertension in 2022 indicates that about 9 million people die of Blood Pressure annually.
Individuals are to ensure that they adhere to effective measures that can help alleviate Blood Pressure disease within families, even though it is a non-communicable condition.