The Nigerian Cardiac Society (NCS) says one in every three adults in Nigeria has high blood pressure.
Okechukwu Ogah, NCS president, disclosed the statistics on Friday.
High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high. Usually, hypertension is defined as blood pressure above 140/90.
It could lead to other health conditions including coronary heart disease and stroke.
Ogah blamed the rise, which he says calls for concern, on unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle.
“At the just concluded 47th annual general meeting and scientific conference of the Nigerian Cardiac Society, it was noted with great concern that the frequency of heart disease in Nigeria is not only high but rising,” Ogah said.
“The increase in heart disease may not be unconnected to the current lifestyle that favours physical inactivity and consumption of unhealthy diets, rich in dietary salt.
“The information making rounds in the social media, on high blood, cholesterol as unharmful is false, especially in the presence of other risk factors such as hypertension.”
Ogah, a consultant cardiologist at the department of medicine, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo, said more cases of heart attack are being reported in hospitals like never before.
He appealed to Nigerians to make conscious choice of a healthy lifestyle through good diet and regular physical exercise, while urging that salt intake should be reduced to less than a teaspoon per day.
“The hitherto almost non-existent cases of heart attacks are now seen more often in the hospitals,” he said.
“Together, we all can reduce the projected burden of heart disease when we make and keep our promises, to prevent heart disease and stroke by becoming more physically active, eating right and quitting tobacco for good.
“It is also prudent to do regular medical check-up, including blood pressure check, even when there is no apparent ill-health.
“One is never too young or too old to make healthy lifestyle choices.”