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Cultivate health maintenance culture, Psychiatrist urges Nigerians

By Lilian Okoro [NAN]

12

A consultant psychiatrist, Dr. Phillip Opeyemi, has advised Nigerians to take their health seriously by eating healthy food and go for regular medical check-ups.

Opeyemi, who works with Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Yaba, gave the advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.

He decried the poor attitude of Nigerians to health issues, saying that the increasing rate and spread of killer diseases in Africa had made it necessary for them to cultivate health maintenance culture.

The medical doctor cautioned against excessive intake of alcohol, cigarette and self-medication, to ensure a healthy life.

Opeyemi also advised Nigerians to cultivate the habit of checking their blood pressure regularly, to prevent stress- related ailments.

The psychiatrist described stress as a risk factor for depression, blood pressure and mental health problems, which, he said, could lead to suicide.

He noted that blood pressure, most times, displayed no signs or symptoms.

According to him, stress-related ailments caused by high blood pressure causative factors, such as stroke, diabetes and hypertension, show minor signs which are usually ignored until they become severe.

The medical doctor said that it was important for Nigerians to know how to prevent and manage stress, to ensure their wellbeing.

“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 check-up is of utmost importance,’’ he said.

The consultant psychiatrist described hypertension as one of the most common stress-related ailments affecting many people silently.

According to him, 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 such a person has to maintain, to ensure that the pressure is not aggravated.

“Anybody diagnosed with hypertension should avoid fatty foods, sugary drinks and change his/her lifestyles.

“The person should take more of fish, chicken with the skin removed, more fruits and vegetables, avoid alcohol intake and sugary foods completely,’’ he advised.

Opeyemi stated that the lifestyle of an individual could affect the way the body would react to issues.

He stressed the need for Nigerians to avoid consuming excessive salt and some foods with artificial seasonings, saying that such foods could trigger ailments.

The consultant described salt reduction as a preventive and treatment measure for hypertension.

According to the medical practitioner, taking medication and avoiding junk foods will go a long way in eradicating chronic stress conditions.

Opeyemi 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 wellbeing, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible before it triggers other ailments.

“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 are becoming common,” he said. (NAN)


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