LASUTH Cardiologists have encouraged Lagosians to constantly check their Blood Pressure despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This advice is in commemoration of the 2020 World Hypertension Day tagged ‘Know Your Numbers’. This annual event is aimed at educating the public and increasing awareness of hypertension and its effects when it is not quickly diagnosed.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, has been termed “a silent killer” and a “global public health issue” because of most affected individual show no symptoms. It is also said that hypertension is the “most important preventable cause of heart disease and stroke worldwide”.
Speaking about this day, Dr Folasade Adeola Daniel, a Consultant Physician and Cardiologist at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH); and a Senior Lecturer with the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM), laid emphasis on the importance of this year’s theme.
Dr Daniel said the importance of knowing one’s systolic (the top number or highest blood pressure when the heart is squeezing and pushing the blood around the body) and diastolic (the bottom number or lowest blood pressure between heartbeats) blood pressure is to help everyone become aware of their health status if they are hypertensive or not. “If you know your blood pressure then you could tell when it is abnormal: higher or lower and then appropriate medical attention could be quickly sought.
She further said that the awareness of this can help people modify their lifestyle to correct the elevated blood pressure if that be the case; “people would know if his or her blood pressure is at the target for those who need to be on treatment for hypertension”. She emphasized that “It’s also better one knows his or her actual blood pressure reading whenever it’s done rather than accept a normal verdict from whoever is doing it.”
Though the COVID-19 Pandemic has hampered several activities that have been put in place to celebrate the day both locally and internationally, Dr Daniel pointed out that the May Measurement Month will still be encouraged to happen albeit on a smaller scale.
Also, Dr Adeola Ajibare, a consultant physician and Cardiologist at LASUTH and Lecturer at LASUCOM, 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 the measurement of the blood pressure of the populace. He pointed out that LASUTH “has been observing the MMM initiative from its inception, 3 years ago. “We organize screenings for people in the neighbouring communities like the computer village and Police College.”
Despite the social distancing restrictions that have led to a drastic reduction in the contact we should have with patients. However, 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, Dr Ajibare said on an optimistic note.
To stay healthy, WHO recommends a healthy diet, no alcohol, physical activity, no tobacco and stress management as steps to minimize the odds of developing high blood pressure and its adverse consequences.