Healthy Lifestyle Key To Prevention

Healthy Lifestyle Key To Prevention

With the increasing rate of non-communicable diseases, including hypertension, Nigerians have been advised on healthy lifestyle.

A healthy lifestyle consists of eating a healthy diet, doing regular physical activity and avoiding toxic habits.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) a healthy lifestyle is a way of living that lowers the risk of being seriously ill or dying early.

“Not all diseases are preventable, but a large proportion of deaths, particularly those from coronary heart disease and lung cancer, can be avoided. Scientific studies have identified certain types of behaviour that contribute to the development of noncommunicable diseases and early death. 

“Health is not only just about avoiding disease. It is also about physical, mental and social wellbeing. When a healthy lifestyle is adopted, a more positive role model is provided to other people in the family, particularly children,“ said WHO.

Emphasising that hypertension control is paramount to reducing the burden of cardiovascular diseases, the coordinating minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Mohammed Ali Pate, urged Nigerians on healthy eating, regular physical activities and avoiding toxic habits like smoking.

He said „Engaging in physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes daily. For instance, use of the stairs instead of the elevator, trekking instead of taking the bus for short distances. Physical activity relieves stress, keeps you fit, controls body weight, and lowers heart disease and stroke risk.

“Avoid tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke.

‚Avoid drinking alcohol, or if you must drink, make sure it is in moderation, and drink a lot of water.

“Eat a healthy diet containing a minimum of five  servings of variety of fresh fruits and vegetables spread over each day. In addition, eat a variety of whole grains, lean meat, fish, peas, beans, and lentils. Avoid processed foods, limit salt intake to less than five grams (1 teaspoon) daily, and reduce dietary cholesterol and avoid industrially produced trans-fats.

 “Know your numbers by regularly checking your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels“.

According to him, hypertension is preventable and can easily be detected and treated.

He advised those on treatment to avoid the temptation of stopping their medication and follow up without advice by your doctor or the health care worker attending to them. 

“Note that generally, adoption of healthy lifestyle is an integral strategy that should be practiced by all. I urge you all to,“ he added.

On the rising burden of hypertension, the president, Nigerian Hypertension Society, Prof. Simeon Isezuo, identified sedentary lifestyle and diet rich in salt, fats and sugar as the main factors. He therefore, advised on consumption of traditional African food derived from roots, stem and leaves, regular exercise and optimum weight for prevention of hypertension. 

„Unhealthy foods should be taxed to discourage their consumption. Legislation should be enacted to enforce appropriate label of salt, fat and sugar contents on food packages,“ he added.

May 17 every year is observed as World Hypertension Day since 2005. The aim is to create awareness and promote the prevention, detection and treatment of hypertension. The theme for this year is „Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer.“

This, Prof. Isezuo said is particularly significant in Nigeria where one of every three adults has hypertension

He said hypertension has no symptoms until a serious damage has been done to the body, saying that many people with this condition are unaware of having it, and only a few of those who are aware are on treatment. 

Prof. Isezuo further stated that most of those who are on treatment do not achieve normal blood pressure levels mainly because they do not take their medicines regularly. 

On treatment, he stressed that the rising cost of medicine for treatment of hypertension is a major concern and potential threat to the gains that may be derived from hypertension control initiatives.

 He, therefore, urged heath care providers to cautiously use the most affordable and available effective and safe medicines for the treatment of hypertension.

He also called on government to take necessary measures to bring down the prices of medicines, while advocating for local manufacturing of medicines. 

Describing hypertension as the leading cause of stroke, heart failure, chronic kidney disease and heart attack resulting in death or disability of people, Prof. Isezuo urged the private sector, philanthropists and religious organisations to support the less privileged by funding their treatment and enrolling them into health care insurance scheme.

He further stated that hypertension is an inheritable disease that may affect multiple members of the same family. “I therefore advocate that Nigerians should strengthen traditional African family system in the control of hypertension. These include sharing of information about hypertension. promotion of native African diet, and involvement in physical domestic activities instead of living them exclusively for house helps. 

“Families should support and encourage their members with hypertension to take their medicines regularly. Regular blood pressure check should be encouraged in the family. Ultimately, every family or household or home in Nigeria should have a blood pressure apparatus for regular blood pressure check.“


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