The Nigerian Cardiac Society (NCS) has said that one out of every three adults in Nigeria had high blood pressure.
Dr Okechukwu Ogah, the President of the association, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Friday.
According to him, the rising prevalence of high blood pressure is mainly caused by unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle.
“At the just concluded 47th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Cardiac Society, it was noted with great concern that the frequency of heart disease in Nigeria is not only high but rising.
“The increase in heart disease may not be unconnected to the current lifestyle that favours physical inactivity and consumption of unhealthy diets, rich in dietary salt.
“The information making rounds in the social media, on high blood, cholesterol as unharmful is false, especially in the presence of other risk factors such as hypertension,” he said.
Ogah, a consultant cardiologist at the Department of Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, said that more people were presenting to hospitals with cases of heart attack like never before.
He appealed to people to take personal responsibility for their health through healthy diet and regular physical exercise.
“The hitherto almost non-existent cases of heart attacks are now seen more often in the hospitals.
“Together, we all can reduce the projected burden of heart disease when we make and keep our promises, to prevent heart disease and stroke by becoming more physically active, eating right and quitting tobacco for good.
“It is also prudent to do regular medical check-up, including blood pressure check, even when there is no apparent ill-health.
“One is never too young or too old to make healthy lifestyle choices.“
Ogah said that making the right choices would not only keep one healthy, today, but also prevent premature deaths from stroke and heart diseases.
“Exercise can be easy and fun especially when it is built into the daily routine.
“Involving the whole family creates group support and quality time with loved ones.
“Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, gardening, jogging, dancing, engaging in house-chores such as sweeping, swimming, washing your car for 30 -45minutes three times a week will be just fine.
“A healthy diet is one that contains all the food nutrients in the right proportion.“
The medical practitioner also advised people to eat moderate sized meal portions, reduce intake of salt to less than a teaspoon per day.
He also called on them to limit consumption of fatty foods and processed foods, including soda and to increase intake of fresh fruits, adding that vegetables were invaluable in maintaining heart health.