Health

The youth and high blood pressure

High blood pressure, a condition known to affect the old, can also affect young people in their late 20s and early 30s. The causes are many, the consequences costly but the prevention is possible. Dr. Marc Nimburanira, Cardiologist, tells us more about high blood pressure.-By Joanna Nganda

Dr. Marc Nimburanira “[…]I advice to check your blood pressure regularly.”©Iwacu

Dr. Marc Nimburanira “[…]I advice to check your blood pressure regularly.”©Iwacu

“Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways: that’s high blood pressure (HBP),” explains Dr. Marc Nimburanira. But why is a condition commonly known to old people touches the young ones? “Scientifically speaking, anyone can be affected by HBP. Even babies can suffer from it. But it is mostly caused by other underlying diseases to which HBP is a side effect. Nowadays, most young people are touched by HBP because of their lifestyle. The main risk factors are obesity, smoking, lack of regular physical exercise and bad nutrition,” indicates Dr. Marc Nimburanira. Guy-Michel, a 27 years old man, knows the symptoms all too well: “I was always a chubby kid at school, and I’d feel dizzy often…especially during sport activities. Actually, our gym teacher used to hate me so much and call me lazy! Later, I started to have nosebleeds and that’s when I went to the doctor’s with my mother, to find out what was going on. The doctor told me that my blood pressure was so high, a heart stroke was right around the corner. I am now on treatment and well.”

A silent health threat

Dr. Marc Nimburanira, explains that HBP has mild symptoms: “the symptoms of HBP are many and somewhat silent. They resemble discomfort rather than strong symptoms, the reason why HBP is unexpectedly discovered while the patient was consulting for something else. The patient can experience headaches, tinnitus (ringing, swishing, or other noises that appear to be originating in the ear or head), nausea, nosebleeds etc…therefore, if you ignore your blood pressure because you think symptoms will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life; I advice to check your blood pressure regularly.” Furthermore, Dr. Nimburanira notes that obesity, diabetes, and cholesterol are some diseases that can cause HBP. All these diseases, including HBP, can be avoided by reinforcing preventive lifestyle and dietary measures. With all the dangers of HBP (edemas, kidney failure, coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, etc.), Dr. Nimburanira explains how it can be avoided: “nowadays, young people sit in front of the TV all day, and it’s not good. A regular, even daily, physical exercise can prevent a lot of health conditions, especially HBP. An appropriate diet with lots of vegetable, fruit and cereals is to encourage. One must also avoid eating too salty and/or too oily. Needless to say, smoking is strongly not advised, and if you already suffer from HBP, you have to stop without delay.”

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