Systemic hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition characterized by consistently elevated blood pressure levels. It occurs when the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is too high, putting strain on the heart and blood vessels.


The burden of hypertension is a global health issue, as it affects millions of people worldwide. The burden of hypertension in Nigeria is also particularly high, with studies showing that large proportion of adults in the country have hypertension. This poses a significant challenge for healthcare systems and calls for effective strategies to prevent and manage this condition.

According to the European Society of Cardiology/European Society for Hypertension, the cutoff for hypertension is defined as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher.    Adults over the age of 18 who have not previously been diagnosed with hypertension should check their blood pressure at least once every two years, while those with a family history of hypertension or other risk factors should check it more frequently.


Causes of hypertension include genetics, unhealthy lifestyle choices such as a high-sodium diet and lack of physical activity, obesity, stress, and certain medical conditions such as kidney disease or hormonal disorders. Additionally, age and family history can also play a role in developing hypertension.


The symptoms of hypertension may not be noticeable until they reach severe levels, which is why regular monitoring is crucial. Some common symptoms that may occur include;

  1. Headaches
  2. Dizziness
  3. blurred vision
  4. chest pain
  5. shortness of breath.

It is important to note that hypertension can be managed through lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthy diet, exercising regularly, reducing stress levels, and taking prescribed medications. The approach your doctor would recommend depends on the stage of the hypertension and other factors specific to your condition.


To test for hypertension, have your blood pressure measured with a blood pressure cuff or sphygmomanometer. This can be done at a doctor’s office, a hospital, or even at home using a digital blood pressure monitor. Another important way of investigating hypertension is through regular health check-ups, where your doctor may perform additional tests such as blood tests or urine tests to assess your overall health and detect any underlying conditions contributing to high blood pressure.


Treatment of hypertension involves using drugs and non-drug approaches. It may also involve addressing underlying medical conditions that contribute to high blood pressure, such as diabetes or kidney disease. Non-drug treatments like weight loss or quitting smoking can help improve blood pressure level so your doctor is likely to recommend such. It is essential for individuals with hypertension to work closely with their doctor to develop a personalized treatment plan that suits their specific needs and reduces the risk of complications associated with high blood pressure.

If left untreated, hypertension can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems. A complication of hypertension can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and even death. It is important for individuals with hypertension to regularly monitor their blood pressure levels and follow their healthcare provider’s recommendations to prevent these complications. It is recommended to regularly monitor blood pressure levels and consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.


Maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco use are all ways to prevent hypertension. Regular medical check-ups can help identify and address any risk factors or early signs of hypertension. Individuals can significantly reduce their risk of developing hypertension by managing these factors and making the necessary lifestyle changes. Maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, reducing sodium intake, and managing stress are all examples of lifestyle changes that can aid in the management and prevention of hypertension.

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