Medical experts have advocated for a moderate salt intake as a step in the right direction for lower risk of high blood pressure.
According to Associate Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Dr. Amam Mbakwem, more black people have hypertension than whites basically because the way blacks handle salt was a bit different.
Speaking at a media briefing for the World Hypertension Day, with the theme ‘Know Your Numbers’, Mbakwem said:
“We tend to hold onto more salt because of our climate. We sweat a lot and so we require more salt to balance up. But once too much salt is in the system, it triggers high blood pressure.”
She further said that there were genetic differences between whites and blacks, stating that “the rate at which hypertension develops complications is worse in blacks even for the same level of blood pressure."
“Diet is also another reason for the high rate of hypertensive cases in black people. Hypertension is one subject every Nigerian should be aware of because the numbers are increasing in our nation. About fifteen to twenty years ago, the statistics was about 11 per cent Nigerian adults that had hypertension. These days, we are looking at figures over 30 per cent. In some areas, it’s as high as 47 per cent. Putting it simply, if you meet 100 Nigerian adults, 30 people are hypertensive,”
Pointing out that the disease does not have any sign or symptom, she however stated that few people may have headache.
In the same vein, the Country Manager, Omron Healthcare Europe, Olugbenga Abiodun expressed concern over the fact most Nigerians were unaware of their blood pressure levels until it was too late, making the incense of the condition much higher than should be.
Pointing out the risks associated with high blood pressure, Mbakwem said eye damage, kidney and heart failure were just some of the things that could happen as a result of blood pressure.
To this end, she urged:
"What we are saying is, check your blood pressure at the slightest opportunity you can ever find. Most pharmacies now have Omron blood pressure monitors. If you go to buy medication, spare some more time to check your blood pressure. You can also keep a record of your numbers on a daily or weekly basis.”