Too much consumption of salt exposes Ghanaians to hypertension – Dr Ani-Asamoah

By Laudia Sawer

Accra, May 24, GNA – Dr Gloria Ani-Asamoah, a Family Physician, at the Korle-Bu Polyclinic, has said that love for high salt consumption is putting most Ghanaians at risk of developing hypertension.

Dr Ani-Asamoah, who is also a Merck Foundation Alumini, therefore urged the public to reduce their salt intake, to minimise their risk of developing high blood pressure and related diseases.

She said this during a Merck Foundation Health Media Training programme, in partnership with the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).

Speaking on: “promoting a healthy lifestyle and raising awareness about prevention and early detection of diabetes and hypertension-how to report about it to the community”. She said there was hidden salt in most food items like the “Toolobeef,” (salted beef), canned foods including tin tomatoes and baked beans, as well as frozen chicken and fish, and advised the public to limit their patronage of these commodities.

Dr Ani-Asamoah said before one even starts cooking, every ingredient to be used contained salt, and then more salt was added, putting food consumers at risk of non-communicable diseases.

“We are overburdening our bodies with salt; you should have at least less than five grams of salt a day, that is a teaspoon,” adding that consumers must check the content of the food items they buy to know the amount of salt it contained.

She said other risk factors of hypertension included family history, ageing, and race, in addition to some lifestyles included sedentary lifestyles, lack of exercise, high consumption of fat, smoking, and alcoholism.

Dr Ani-Asamoah advised the public to sleep more to avoid stress, eat more fruits and vegetables as opposed to carbohydrates and starch, stressing that fruits must be taken raw instead of the fruit juices on the market that had high sugar content.

She also cautioned against the consumption of saturated fat, such as the multiple usage of a quantity of oil, advising on steaming as a better cooking method and option instead of the oils.

She encouraged people to walk into any pharmacy or health institution to check their blood pressure for early detection and prevention, which if not prevented, could lead to kidney failure, stroke, heart attacks, and other complications, which were the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases in Africa.

Dr Ani-Asamoah said “hypertension is a silent killer that does not present with any symptoms until it is too late,” and effective treatment depended on early detection.

“To be diagnosed with hypertension, at least your BP must be checked twice by professionals if it is more than 140/90.

You can only find out if you get it measured. The only way to do so is to walk into the health facility or pharmacy and get it measured. Because once you have any of the non-modifiers, you have a chance of contracting it,” she said.

She stated that even though hypertension was asymptomatic, occasionally, some may have some early signs of chest pain, headaches, funny noise in the ears, visual disturbance, nausea, a state of confusion, and severe chest pain.