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High Blood Pressure: The Silent Millennial Killer

A few decades ago, high blood pressure was not a disease you would easily associate with persons within the ages of 20 – 40. Its prevalence is on the increase among young adults, with an estimate of one in eight young people getting diagnosed with hypertension. To prevent this phenomenon from escalating into a crisis, adequate communication on the subject of high blood pressure in young people has become pertinent.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition where the force of blood pushing on the blood vessel walls is too high. Normal, healthy blood pressure is less than 120 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) of systolic pressure and less than 80 mmHg of diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure of the blood in the arteries when the heart pumps, while diastolic pressure means the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. A person’s blood pressure is said to be high when it is over 120/80.

Usually, high blood pressure does not show very evident symptoms, which is why it is often referred to as a silent killer. However, some symptoms may be subtle pointers to above-normal blood pressure: headaches, nose bleeding, fluctuating heart rate, dizziness, or unexplainable fatigue.

Risk factors for young people
In addition to long-existing risk factors such as genetics, young people are becoming more susceptible to developing high blood pressure as a result of several factors:

Sedentary lifestyle: The 21st century has brought with it several jobs and professions that do not require frequent mobility. This has adversely affected the lifestyles of young people with a decrease in much required physical activity to facilitate ease of blood pumping functions.

Poor diet: An explosion in urbanisation has also seen a rise in the consumption of processed foods, which are often high in salt content. Excess sodium in the body increases blood pressure and exerts more burden on the heart.

Use of tobacco and excessive consumption of alcohol: Habits such as these increase a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure. These habits have been linked with narrowing of arteries and damaging of arterial walls.

Prevention tips
As hypertension is a chronic disease that can lead to death, it is necessary to be proactive about its prevention:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • A regular check for renal artery disease, a narrowing of the arteries that bring blood to each of the kidneys
  • Doing a periodic checkup for hormonal causes of high blood pressure such ashyperaldosteronism.

These tips will aid in the prevention of hypertension which can lead to cardiovascular diseases such as, stroke, arteriosclerosis, cardiomyopathy. Hospitals and diagnostics centres rely on the Cobas H232 cardiac reader and Cobas c111, c311 and e411 chemistry analysers for accuratediagnosis of such conditions.

The DC-40 ultrasound machine and echocardiogram (ECG) machines also help to monitor the irregularities in the heart rate and inform diagnosis.

As you go about your daily activities, remember that your age does not make you immune tohigh blood pressure. It is advised that you monitor your blood pressure regularly and have a healthy balanced life to reduce your risks. If you are a person living with diabetes, keep complications such as hypertension at bay by monitoring your blood sugar level with the Accu-Chek glucose meter.

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