THE SILENT KILLER Mama Emeka, my childhood neighbour collapsed while going to her store. We all thought it’s a product of her many enemies, since she was a known trouble maker earning her the alias ‘Trouble’. Emeka her son became an orphan and a drop-out as there was nobody to support him. Mama Emeka was said to be healthy that morning before her death which begs the question, what could have gone wrong. The only plausible explanation was that she must have died from complications of a chronic medical condition with hypertension being the prime suspect. Complicated hypertension kills silently and suddenly. Hypertension simply means abnormal elevated blood pressure. Blood pressure readings are comprised of two values: one for systolic blood pressure and the other one for diastolic blood pressure; anything equal to or above 140 over 90 is considered high. It affects approximately 1 billion people worldwide and it is commoner among blacks. Studies shows that about 30 million Nigerians are hypertensive, affecting 1 in 3 men and 1 in 4 women. Unfortunately over 30% of hypertensives are unaware. These sets of people are time bomb waiting to explode just like Mama Emeka. Kaboom! And they are gone 6 feet under the ground. Over 90% of hypertension is idiopathic, the causes are unknown. However, there are some things that increase one’s chance of having hypertension which include advance age, black race, stress, sedentary lifestyles, alcohol consumption, smoking, consumption of fatty food and extra large people with BMI greater than 30. High blood pressure is usually asymptomatic, but when it presents with symptoms, the symptoms are usually vague. Vague symptoms of hypertension include headache, insomnia, blurry vision and palpitations. Untreated or poorly treated hypertension leads to heart failure, heart attack, stroke, blindness, renal failure and many more. Routine blood pressure check is important(especially for individuals with increased chances) and this can be done in the hospital. One must know his number and it is easier these days that even mushroom ‘chemists’ now render blood pressure checking service at a cheap price. A way of showing love to your old ones is to make sure they get their blood pressure checked. You might be saving a life. To those who have been diagnosed of hypertension, yet you are not on drug and not attending clinic, I feel sorry for the loved ones you’ll be living behind. Stroke might just be knocking on the door. Please retrace your steps. Eat healthy, avoid excessive salt intake and limit alcohol consumption. Extra large ones should emulate the popular comedienne Lepacious Bose. Hit the gym with the aim of maintaining a healthy weight. Who fatness don epp except for bullies? We must all know our numbers, mine is 110/70mmHg. What is yours? This post is to mark the World Hypertension Day, May 17-24th, 2016.