Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Grace Ijarogbe, on Tuesday advised Nigerians to cultivate the habit of checking their blood pressure regularly, to prevent stress-related ailments.
Ijarogbe, in an interview with the newsmen in Lagos, said that stress was a risk factor for depression, blood pressure and mental health problems, which could lead to suicide.
The medical practitioner said the advice became necessary because blood pressure, most times, showed no signs or symptoms.
She said that stress-related ailments caused by high blood pressure causative factors such as stroke, diabetes and hypertension, showed minor signs which were usually ignored until they became severe.
According to her, it is important for Nigerians to know how to prevent and manage stress, to ensure their well-being.
“Some of these ailments can lead to sudden death, if not detected early and properly managed by medical experts.
“They can occur almost immediately and at any time; someone who is apparently fit may be at risk; that is why routine checkup is of utmost importance.’’
The consultant psychiatrist described hypertension as one of the most common stress-related ailments that affect many people silently.
According to her, hypertension is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries becomes elevated.
“Blood pressure measurement is consistently normal if it is 120/80, but when it repeatedly becomes 150/90, that is when there is hypertension.
“When somebody is hypertensive, there are certain food modifications that person has to maintain, to ensure that the pressure is not aggravated.
“Anybody diagnosed with hypertension should avoid fatty foods, sugary drinks and change some lifestyles.
“The person should take more of fish, chicken with the skin removed, more fruits and vegetables, avoid alcohol intake and sugary foods completely,’’ she advised.
Ijarogbe noted that the lifestyle of an individual could affect the way the body reacted to issues.
She harped on the need for Nigerians to avoid consuming excessive salt and some foods with artificial seasonings, saying that they could trigger ailments.
The consultant said that salt reduction was a preventive and treatment measure for hypertension.
According to her, taking medication and avoiding junk foods would go a long way in eradicating chronic stress conditions.
Ijarogbe also advised Nigerians to cultivate the habit of regular exercise and create time for relaxation, as a way of reducing stress-related ailments.
“Everyone experiences stress. However, when it is affecting your life, health and well-being, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible before it triggers other ailments; change the way you behave, and lead you to experience more intense emotions.
“Also, the need for regular check on blood pressure is becoming increasingly relevant, as reports of obesity, poor diet and physical inactivity in children and young people is becoming common,” she said.