Reduce salt intake to prevent hypertension, physician advises Nigerians

A Consultant Physician at University College Hospital, Ibadan, Dr Samuel Ajayi, has advised Nigerians to reduce salt intake to lower their high blood pressure risk.

Ajayi gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Ibadan.

He said that having a healthy diet (diet with fruits, vegetables and drinking water of, at least, three litres a day) could also help in regulating blood pressure.

According to him, reducing alcohol intake, losing weight, if overweight or obese, exercising regularly, cutting down on caffeine consumption and cessation of smoking can also help in reducing high blood pressure.

“There are several medications that can be used. However, doctors can choose certain medications, depending on age, presence of other diseases like diabetes or the presence of complications of hypertension, such as heart failure or kidney disease.

“It is also important to have regular blood pressure checks and regular follow-ups with doctors,” he said.

The consultant physician listed things that could increase the risk of hypertension to include: being overweight, eating too much salt and not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

Others, he said, were: not exercising, drinking too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks), smoking, stress, age over 65, having a relative with high blood pressure and being of black race.

He said in about 10 to 15 per cent of cases, hypertension happened as a result of an underlying health condition or taking certain medicine.

Ajayi said that health conditions that could cause hypertension included: kidney disease, diabetes, sleep apnoea (where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep) and interruption of normal breathing.

“There are some medicines that can increase blood pressure, which are: contraceptive pills, steroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.

“There are also some pharmacy cough and cold remedies, some herbal remedies, particularly those containing liquorice, some recreational drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines like Molly.

“In these cases, the blood pressure may return to normal once the drugs are stopped,” he said.

Ajayi also explained that when the blood pressure was too high, it put extra strain on the blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.

“Persistent high blood pressure can increase the risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.

“Reducing blood pressure by even a small amount can help lower the risk of these health conditions,” the consultant physician said.

SOURCE:PUNCH

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