A recent study by Wits University found that South Africa has the highest prevalence of hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure, in Southern Africa.
High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. It is a dangerous condition that if uncontrolled, can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke.
People who have a family history of the disease, who are obese, don’t exercise, smoke, and drink excessively, are at a higher risk of suffering from hypertension.
The good thing is that high blood pressure can be managed and over the years people have come up with different methods to try and control it.
One of the methods is using home remedies such as eating Cayenne Pepper, drinking herbal tea, eating watermelon seeds, and drinking coconut water.
But Doctor Manoko Rose Mabotja, of the HealthWise Medical Centre in Kempton Park, cautions against the use of home remedies.
“Hypertension is a serious disease that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Although I don’t disregard home remedies, it is very important that patients only use such remedies when advised to do so by their doctor.
“The mistake people make is in using untested methods to try and control hypertension. However, it’s important to note that the best place to start in dealing with high blood pressure is to see a doctor who can advise accordingly.”
Mabotja says failure to properly treat the condition can lead to a number of complications.
“Taking incorrect methods to try and control high blood pressure can lead to further damage. The harmful effects of incorrect medication can cause organ damage and sometimes even death.”
She advises that as soon as a person establishes that they have high blood pressure, they should see a health practitioner.
“Most of the time, doctors advise people to take drugs (medication), and to make positive lifestyle changes.”
These changes include exercise, eating healthily, having a healthy mind-set, and avoiding stress.
“When it comes to diet, we even advice patients to visit dietitians so that they get a custom-made diet plan.”