Medical experts at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi have reiterated that high blood pressure (hypertension) is a “silent killer” and about 30-40% of adults are hypertensive with 60% of these don’t know that they have hypertension.
They have since discouraged people from taking herbals and Chinese related products, saying they contain harmful substances that lead to kidney failure.
“Herbals and chinese medicine are no good and can harm and damage your kidneys. Some of these herbals contain detrimental substances that can lead to kidney failure.
“Kidney failure is a serious condition and every expensive to have your blood cleansed where the kidneys have been damaged,” said Dr Staphael Kalengo, Head of Dialysis Unit at the hospital.
Kalengo said this during disease awareness media briefing at the hospital’s premises in the commercial capital.
The kidneys cleanse one’s blood by removing waste and excess fluid, maintain the balance of salt and minerals in the body and help regulate blood pressure.
“When the kidneys have damaged, waste products and fluids accumulate in the body, causing body swelling and shortness of breath.
“If left untreated, diseased kidneys may eventually stop functioning completely. Kidney failure is serious and potentially fatal condition,” he explained.
While Head of Accidents and Emergency, Dr Christopher Banda, zeroing on hypertension, said some medications like “birth control pills or over-the-counter cold medicine” can cause high blood pressure as well.
Banda said hypertension is called the “silent killer” mainly because people often have no symptoms, “yet it leads to some serious and sometimes even fatal conditions”.
“High blood pressure is a silent killer because it can lead to some very serious complications. It can lead to abnormal heart rhythm and it can also make you likely to have a heart attack or heart failure, kidney problems, or even a stroke,” asserted Banda.
He therefore advised those with hypertension to always take scientifically proven medication as directed by medical personnel and monitor their blood pressure in their homes with monitoring devices.
“There are many risk factors for high blood pressure. Some factors you can’t change. Others are modifiable based on your lifestyle.
“Factors that are modifiable include being overweight, not exercising enough, eating unhealthy diet, consuming excess salt, drinking alcohol and smoking. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, you should work with your doctor on reducing risks,” advised Banda.
Meanwhile the hospital is conducting high blood pressure screening exercises in various locations ahead of the disease awareness open day on November 21 and are being carried under the theme ‘Hypertension and the Kidney’.
According to Disease Awareness Committee Chairperson, Lutengano Kadam’manja, the screening exercises are aimed at raising awareness about high blood pressure, kidney problems and other non-communicable diseases which are getting common.
“Its our corporate responsibility to sensitise the communities so that we should be able to enjoy life together. We want to prevent high blood pressure and related diseases amongst us by providing improved diagnositic services to communities,” said Kadam’manja.
“We are also expecting medical experts from South Africa who will join us and also conduct high blood pressure screening on November 21. We shall also have various activities including testimonies survivors of stroke, high blood pressure and other diseases,” she said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :