Doctor warns against high consumption of salt

Mbakwem also disclosed that Nigerians stand more risk of hypertension because of their lifestyles, urging them to be aware.

An Associate Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Dr. Amam Mbakwem has reemphasised the need for Nigerians to be moderate about salt intake and imbibe the habit of regular blood pressure monitoring, stating that it will help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and other related diseases.

He said, “Hypertension is one subject every Nigerian should be aware of.

“This is because the number of people with hypertension keeps increasing daily and worse still, hypertension does not have any sign or symptom.

“More blacks have hypertension than whites basically because the way blacks handle salt is a bit different.

With this year’s theme, “know Your Numbers’’, for the World Hypertension Day on Sunday, Mbakwem said that people tended to hold onto more salt because of the climate.

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“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.

“There is also some genetic differences between whites and blacks. The rate at which hypertension develops complications is worse in blacks even for the same level of blood pressure in whites.

“Diet is also another reason for the high rate of hypertensive cases in black people,’’ she said.

Mbakwem also disclosed that Nigerians stood more risk of hypertension because of their lifestyles, urging them to be aware.

“Hypertension is one subject every Nigerian should be aware of because the numbers are increasing in our nation.

“About 15 to 20 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 higher as 47 per cent. Putting it simply, if you meet 100 Nigerian adults, 30 people are hypertensive.

Mbakwem therefore, warned that hypertension gave little or no sign before striking its patient dead and for this reason, there must be caution.

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“Few people may have headache, but most people do not know they are hypertensive as it has no symptoms.

“It is either somebody checks your blood pressure and it is there or an organ has been damaged before it is discovered.

“That is why we worry about it. It is not just about the numbers, but the damage high blood pressure causes,’’ she said.

Mbakwem also said that “high blood pressure heats up the brain, it can also damage it and that is when we talk about stroke.

“It can damage the eyes, causing blindness. The heart can fail. It can damage the kidneys. It can damage the arteries in the body.

“That is why we want everybody to know this. If it is discovered early, it is better to manage.

“What we are saying is check your blood pressure at the slightest opportunity you can ever find.

“Anytime you visit a hospital or any medical centre, make sure you check your blood pressure,’’ she said.

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