PUBLISHED — 18th, May 2022

Dorothy Kisaka, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director, has challenged city dwellers to embrace walking regularly as one way of managing blood pressure. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a risk affecting over 200,000 people annually in Kampala and is one of the main risk factors for more serious cardiovascular conditions and events, such as heart disease and stroke.
Research shows that one way of preventing hypertension is through regular exercise, and physical activity helps safeguard cardiovascular health.

Speaking during the World Hypertension Day celebrations at City Hall on Tuesday 17th May, 2022, Kisaka revealed that walking on regular basis is extremely crucial.

“We need to intentionally make adjustments to our lives so that we live health. The way we eat, the way we travel must change to prevent hypertension,” Kisaka said.

She revealed that KCCA has designed the city roads with walkways for pedestrians not only for sustainablity, but healthier lives and more fun in the city.

“Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. We put walkways on our roads so that people can walk. Ladies in high heels, carry an extra shoe to office and walk. Utilise these walkways for good health,” Kisaka said.

Several other roads in the pipeline will have walkways and cycling lanes.

Apart from walking, the KCCA production unit encourages city dwellers to plant vegetables at home to improve on their diet.

The Director Public Health and Environment Dr. Daniel Okello said the management of hypertension is more than just testing and medication.

“It is known that the solution to handling non-communicable diseases like Hypertension does not necessarily lie in the medical field alone. Having jogging lanes when roads are constructed, green spaces, sports fields and also eating healthy.” Okello said.

Research has shown that there are a number of foods that can assist in the management of hypertension.

Drinking water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated helps to lower blood pressure. Beet root juice is the best choice for drinking, as it can significantly lower blood pressure in about three hours.

Consuming other beneficial drinks like tomato juice and pomegranate juice may not have immediate effects on blood pressure, but will work over a period of time when used consistently.

Dr. Tom Mwambu, a consultant cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon with Uganda Heart Institute advised a healthy lifestyle and a switch to non-fat foods like vegetables and low cholesterol foods like fish.

He said many cases get reported late and this can cause adverse conditions like loss of limbs.This was acutely seen during the Covid-19 pandemic when patients could not reach the medical facilities.

During the hypertension day celebrations, there was free testing for hypertension, diabetes and other heart conditions.

KCCA celebrated the day in partnership with the Uganda Heart Association, Uganda Heart Institute, Case Hospital, Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital, Micro Labs Limited, Nakasero Hospital and Kasubi Hospital.

World Hypertension Day marked on May 17 of every year was initiated to increase the awareness of hypertension. This was especially important because of the lack of appropriate knowledge among hypertensive patients.

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