A Cardiologist, Dr Akinkunmi Afolabi, on Wednesday in Lagos urged Nigerians to promote healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure in the country.

Afolabi, who works at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that hypertension was becoming an increasing trend all over the world, including Nigeria.

He said that the 2017 World Hypertension Day, with the theme: “Know Your Number’’ was aimed at promoting public awareness on hypertension and also prevent and control this endemic disease.

NAN reports that the World Hypertension Day was initiated by the World Hypertension League to increase the awareness about hypertension because of the lack of appropriate knowledge among hypertensive patients.

NAN also reports that the World Hypertension Day is celebrated around the world on May 17 of every year.

According to him, hypertension is a condition when a person’s blood pressure is measured to be higher than 140 over 90 mmHg.

“This means the systolic reading of the pressure as the heart pumps blood around the body is over 140 mmHg and the diastolic reading as the heart relaxes and refills with blood is over 90 mmHg."

“The increasing prevalence of the condition has shown that people’s lifestyle and dietary factors have major roles to play."

“Such factors as physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use, and diets high in processed and fatty foods can contribute greatly to ones blood pressure getting high overtime."

“It is important for the general public to have adequate knowledge of the dangers surrounding a high blood pressure and proactive measures in maintaining healthy blood pressure."

“It is also important to know that we must adopt healthy diet by reducing our calories intake and embrace diet rich in vegetables and fresh fruits."

“This will go a long way in reducing the risk factors of being hypertensive,’’ Akinkunmi said.

He, however, urged the government to make control of hypertension a key national priority in order to prevent the number of heart attacks and stroke cases.

“The government should come up with national health programmes that include public awareness on hypertension, its risk factors and access to adequate healthcare facilities for people living with high blood pressure."

He advised the public, especially people who have family history of heart related disease to go for comprehensive screening to ensure prevention.

“Adults above 30 years should endeavor to know their blood pressure numbers in order to detect any unusual abnormality for proactive treatment,’’ the doctor said.