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Hypertension a leading cause of death in northern region-Nutritionist


A dietician at the Right to Know Consultancy in Tamale, has said that hypertension (high blood pressure), which is often referred to as the silent killer is one of the leading causes of death in the northern region.

The dietician, Mr. Divine Elie Cophie, pointed out that though the cause of hypertension is not known, one can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and the heart continues and can be detected.

Mr Eli-Cophie made this known on Zaa Radio’s health programme ‘’Health Matters.’’

Uncontrolled high blood pressure, he noted, increases the risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. He said high blood pressure generally develops over many years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. ‘’Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it. Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels’’.

A few people with high blood pressure, the nutritionist stated, may have headaches, shortness of breath or nose bleeding, but these signs and symptoms are not specific and usually do not occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.

Some of the risk factors associated with hypertension, he pointed out, include age, race, family history, being overweight or obesity, not being physically active, too much salt (sodium) in diet. Others are excessive intake of alcohol, stress, too little potassium in diet and too little vitamin D in diet.

Mr. Eli- Cophie further revealed that although high blood pressure is most common in adults, children may be at risk, too. He said for some children, high blood pressure is caused by problems with the kidneys or heart, but for a growing number of kids, poor lifestyle habits, such as an unhealthy diet, obesity and lack of exercise, contribute to high blood pressure.

Pregnancy sometimes contributes to high blood pressure, as well, he added.  He therefore advised the general public to try the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy foods, get plenty of potassium, which can help prevent and control high blood pressure, eat less saturated fat and trans-fat, have regular check-ups, and also live healthy lifestyles.

By: Lilian D. Walter

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