The main cause of cardiovascular disease and kidney failure, high blood pressure is the most common chronic diseases in Africa. It is due to an unusually high blood pressure in the blood vessels. Its effect increases with age. In fact, high blood pressure is much more frequent in people over the age of 60. About 60% of the older people are affected in Africa. A situation that deserves special attention.
What’s high blood pressure?
Hypertension or high blood pressure is characterized by excessively high levels of blood pressure. According to the World Health Organisation, 30% of men and 50% of women aged 65 to 75 suffer from high blood pressure. Its frequency increases with age, but it now affects young generation more and more. It is a disease that shows no symptoms, that is why it is called the “silent killer. This means that most of the hypertensives are not aware of their condition. Several factors added to time leads to high blood pressure in the person concerned. Stress, age, alcohol abuse, smoking, obesity, heredity, diet , sedentarity are among the causes of the disease. Indeed, in a stressful situation or during physical exercise, it is normal for blood pressure to rise. But in people with hypertension, blood pressure remains high at all times, even at rest or in the absence of stress. In addition, high salt consumption also elevate blood pressure. it is therefore important not to exceed the limit of salt using per day. In the long term, high blood pressure is an important risk factor for many diseases.
A silent killer with serious complications.
Due to the absence of any revealing symptoms, high blood pressure is often diagnosed unexpectedly and late. If left untreated, it can eventually lead toserious complications: cardiovascular, cerebrovascular or organs such as the kidney, the retina, etc. Complications of high blood pressure include stroke, chronic renal failure, heart failure, retinopathy and many other severe complications. According to a study carried out on high blood pressure in sub-Saharan Africa, high blood pressure is the leading risk factor for stroke, kidney failure and heart failure in Africa.
What should be done?
The first action in the treatment of hypertension is not to prescribe medication, but to take hygienic measures
Weight reductionin overweight cases, the practice of a regular physical activity according to the state of health, the reducing salt consumption (less than 6 g/day), the reducing alcohol consumption (less than 3 drinks per day for men and less than 2 for women), a diet rich in vegetables and fruits and low in animal fats, thequitting smoking once for all, are the first steps in lowering blood pressure.
If these new lifestyle habits do not result in the achievement of normal blood pressure after three months, the prescription of anti-hypertensive drugs is envisaged with the qualified health agents.
Furthermore, due to the lack of symptoms, the disease is becoming more widespread, especially in developing countries. The lack of qualified doctors in the domain, the use of traditional medicine in rural areas because of lack of financial means are some of the factors that can increase the complications of hypertension in Africa.
French translation of ” Hypertension artérielle : Maladie cardiovasculaire aux complications graves ”, Eliane FATCHINA by Salima ALAGBE