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Hypertension Day: Men cautioned to take medication, disregard impotency misconceptions


 Dr. John Amoah, Research Fellow, Kintampo Health Research Centre, has advised men to disregard myths and misconceptions that blood pressure (BP) or hypertension drugs cause impotence.

He said failure to take BP drugs could lead to higher BP, stroke, heart attack or failure, blindness, liver damage, and kidney damage, among others.

Dr Amoah, who gave the caution in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the long-term effects of failure to take BP medication included death, getting stroke and being bedridden.

This could subsequently have a crippling effect on a family if the sufferer were the breadwinner and overburden the Government financially in the management of healthcare.

“Most of the men on BP medication who claim to have effects on their potency, might already have psychological positions before taking it.

“If you don't take the drug and you die through a heart attack or have stroke and are bedridden, who will take care of your wife, and children, how will their lives be?” He added.

The Research Fellow, who gave the advice as Ghana joined the rest of the world to observe the 2022 World Hypertension Day, admonished men to report every effect of BP medications to their doctors or health workers for advice and intervention.

The theme for the 2022 World Hypertension Day, which falls on May 17 of every year, is “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure.

Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body in the vessels and each time the heart beats, it pumps blood into the vessels.

Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart and the higher the pressure, the harder the heart must pump, it says. 

According to the World Health Organisation(WHO), Hypertension is a serious medical condition and can increase the risk of heart, brain, kidney, and other diseases.

It says hypertension was a major cause of premature death worldwide, with upwards of one in four men and one in five women, and more than a billion people having the condition.

“The burden of hypertension is felt disproportionately in low and middle-income countries, where two thirds of cases are found, largely due to increased risk factors in those populations in recent decades,” it states.

Many people with hypertension do not notice symptoms and may be unaware there is a problem, the WHO says.

Symptoms can include early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, vision changes, and buzzing in the ears and more severe forms may exhibit fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, and muscle tremors.

If left untreated, it says, it could cause persistent chest pain (also called angina), heart attacks, heart failure, and an irregular heartbeat, which can lead to a sudden death. 

Hypertension can also cause strokes by blocking or bursting arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain, as well as kidney damage, which can lead to kidney failure.

High blood pressure also causes damage to the heart by hardening arteries and decreasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart.

Detecting hypertension is done with a quick and painless test of blood pressure. Although this could be done at home, a health professional could help to assess any risks or associated conditions, it states.

The WHO advised that reducing modifiable risk factors was the best way to prevent hypertension and associated diseases of the heart, brain, kidney and other organs.

These factors include unhealthy diets (excessive salt consumption, a diet high in saturated fat and trans fats, low intake of fruits and vegetables), physical inactivity, consumption of tobacco and alcohol, and being overweight or obese.

   There are also non-modifiable risk factors, including a family history of hypertension, age over 65 years and co-existing diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease.

It says avoiding dietary and behavioural risk factors was doubly important for those with unmodifiable or hereditary risk factors.

   Hypertension, it explained, could be managed by reducing and managing mental stress, regularly checking blood pressure and consulting health professionals, treating high blood pressure and managing other medical conditions.

Cessation of tobacco use and the harmful use of alcohol, as well as improvements in diet and exercise, could help to reduce symptoms and risk factors from hypertension, it advised. 

World Hypertension Day was first inaugurated in May 2005, and ever since has become an annual event, India Today states.

The main purpose behind the celebration is to promote public awareness of hypertension and encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer, the modern epidemic.

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