“How can I have high blood pressure, doctor? I am only 26 years old!” Musa asked through teary eyes.
He spent the earlier part of his life training to be an engineer and only graduated from his master’s program after a full-ride scholarship to the University of Oxford. He was shocked to learn from his doctor that he is not the first young person to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, nor was he going to be the last.
High blood pressure is a common health condition that affects individuals of various age groups worldwide. High blood pressure is sometimes called a “silent killer” because there may be no symptoms, which makes it difficult for people to know they have it and get it treated promptly.
How common is high blood pressure?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 years worldwide have high blood pressure. That means about 1 out of every 4 adults has high blood pressure! Do not assume your blood pressure is normal if you are under 40, because as many as 1 in 8 people between the ages of 20-40 have high blood pressure. This number is expected to rise due to an increase in sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diets, smoking, and alcohol consumption among young people. Most people with high blood pressure live in countries like Nigeria, not in developed countries. Have you checked your blood pressure lately?
Why treat or avoid high blood pressure?
Individuals with high blood pressure are at increased risk of complications, such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.
What should I do to prevent high blood pressure?
Early detection and early treatment are important to avoid these complications. Regular blood pressure checks should be done routinely by every adult. Lifestyle modifications such as adopting a balanced diet, participating in regular physical activities, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting salt and alcohol intake, and avoiding smoking will aid in reducing the risk of high blood pressure.
Promoting awareness of high blood pressure and its possible complications can increase the number of people who take up these healthy activities and reduce the occurrence of high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is becoming more common due largely to changing lifestyles. 1 in 4 adults is said to have high blood pressure, with the number set to increase. It is important to take steps for prevention, early detection, and early treatment.