One of the reasons for medical evacuation, as we are seeing increasingly at Flying Doctors Nigeria, is stroke.
This is usually due to hypertensive nephrosclerosis, which is simply as a result of poorly managed hypertension (High blood pressure).
So, we have decided to educate you on how to watch your blood pressure.
The saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is extremely true in this case. The cost of treatment is higher than that of your lifestyle modifications. Yes, it’s all in the lifestyle modifications. You may not even need medication. Once you are diagnosed, though, you have to be on life-long medication.
This is for you if:
- You generally want to have a healthy lifestyle
- You have ever been told you have elevated blood pressure
- You have a family member with hypertension
- You have been diagnosed with hypertension
- You had a temporary loss of vision that restored itself within 24 hours
- You have had a stroke before.
Here is your new Rule Book:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Calculate your body mass index (BMI). That is, what you weigh in relation to your height. There are online calculators for this that help to tell if you are in the appropriate range.
- Eat a balanced diet: Make sure your diet contains all, if not all the six classes of food- Carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and water. Water is especially important. Vitamins and minerals can be gotten from fruits and vegetables.
- Cut back on salt and other forms of Sodium in your diet: Eat less processed foods, read food labels and avoid food items containing sodium, don’t add salt (if you can’t cut off salt at once, reduce quantity daily till you don’t use anymore). You can use herbs and spices instead.
- Exercise regularly: Walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming are good exercises that you can do. Thirty-minute exercise on alternate days can help lower your blood pressure if you’re hypertensive and prevent full-blown hypertension if you are at risk.
- Reduce your alcohol: The occasional alcohol at celebrations is harmless. In large quantities, however, alcohol is very bad for your blood pressure
- Quit smoking: Smoking increases your blood pressure. If you need help quitting, inform your doctor
- Cut back on caffeine: If you drink coffee, check your blood pressure after. If it increases, then you need to cut back or stop altogether
- Monitor your blood pressure regularly: Acquire a digital sphygmomanometer. Those are easy to use. Regular checks at home, as well as clinic visits with your doctor, help you know if you are within the appropriate range.
- Reduce your stress: Identify your stress triggers and avoid them. Stress raises your blood pressure
- Get support: You will need your partner, friends, and family on this lifestyle journey. To encourage and motivate you.