Is it not incomprehensible that the world is still living with the danger of this menace for so long, and we don’t seem to be doing enough to arrest it?
When we look at the fact that 1.13 billion people in the world are hypertensive, and that represents 15 per cent of the world population; meaning for every 7 people in the world, one is hypertensive, it’s really worrying. This means the menace is closer to us than we actually realise.
And what is more worrying is that two-thirds of this number are based in low and economically-deprived countries of the world. And yet…it is still a problem.
I have written and spoken a lot about the various effects of what we are going through in today’s world – the Coronavirus crisis and the attendant effects on our lives – and the effect on mental health. Many people have addressed mental health issues, talking depression, stress, anxiety.
But hypertension is a major form of mental health, and we really need to take heed.
Even before the Covid crisis, mental health coming out in the form of hypertension was already a big problem.
And hypertension is a result of conditions relating to high blood pressure, which can be caused by heightened mental activity, anxiety or stress.
We all know that in low-income countries, survival is a big problem. The shock of sudden changes in personal circumstances can send many people down that spiral of sadness and uncertainty, which in turn raises arterial blood pressure, which in turn is hypertension.
We are not paying enough attention to hypertension. I don’t know what these ‘days’ are meant to be for, but we really need to be more active, and pay a lot less lip service.
I know two really close former football greats who went down…dying at the hands of hypertension, directly or not. It was sad. It brought home to me the fact that football coaches, as an example, are in high tension jobs and with the dynamics of the various heights and stages of a football match and football fortunes, the fluctuations in blood pressure levels can lead to hypertension rather easily.
Therefore, it needs to be checked.
But as it is in football coaches, so it is with many others, worldwide, operating in their different sectors of living endeavour. This is why the number, obviously not peculiar to football alone, has crept up to 1.13 billion people.
Blood pressure is the key. We need to monitor blood pressure regularly. When we monitor blood pressure, we will notice trends, and be able to arrest where there are any concerns before they escalate.
In the low-income parts of the world, the drive to monitor blood pressure is very low – almost non-existent.
We need to ramp it up. We need to encourage and provide the amenities that will ensure that we can monitor the blood pressure, and the mental health of those people.
We are making concerted efforts to find a solution for Covid-19. The whole world is running helter, running skelter, to find vaccines and cures. Because its coming, although has affected, so far, 5 million people globally, has touched many big people, and crippled economies.
But in the grand scheme of things, hypertension is affecting 226 times that number, and is killing multitudes more in these so-called poor countries. It is a major form of mental health which many politicians make a narrative when they are campaigning for votes, and do very little about when they get the votes.
Don’t we therefore need to pay particular and meaningful attention to this silent killer? On this day, please let us reflect.