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Is your blood pressure below 130/85?

Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood exerted on the walls of arteries as the heart pumps it around the body. The pressure is normally recorded as two numbers, e.g. 130/70.

The upper number indicates the pressure in the arteries as the heart squeezes out blood during each beat. It is called systolic blood pressure.

The lower number indicates the pressure as the heart relaxes before the next beat. It is called diastolic blood pressure.

Note: It is best to measure blood pressure when you are relaxed and sitting or lying down. Blood pressure varies according to the body’s needs.

What is high blood pressure?

There is no rule about what is high blood pressure, but the following figures are used as a guide.

Normal: between 90/60 and 120/80

High normal; between 120/80 and 139/89.

High: equal to or more than 140/90. High blood pressure can kill if uncontrolled.

Why blood pressure matter?

If   blood pressure remains high, can cause serious problems like heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, e.t.c.

Cholesterol and fat.

What is cholesterol? It is a fat substance produced naturally by the body and appears in our blood in different forms. Some cholesterol comes from foods but the body can make all it needs.

The different types of cholesterol include; Low Density Lipo protein (LDL) cholesterol also known as ‘bad’ as it tends to clog blood vessels. The recommended level of LDL cholesterol is less than 3.5mmol/liter.

High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol also called ‘good’ cholesterol can actually help unclog the arteries. High HDL levels can be a good sign as long as the LDL levels are also not high. The recommended levels of HDL cholesterol are more than 1 mmol/liter.

What are triglycerides?

It is a type of fat occurring naturally in blood. They are formed from the digestion of fats in food. The recommended level of triglycerides is less than 2 mmol/liter.

What are the main types of fats?

Saturated fats. These raise blood cholesterol levels and foods with mainly saturated fats should be avoided where possible. Fat on meat, full-fat dairy products and many takeaway foods and processed foods such as pastaries and most commercial biscuits are full of them. Like other fats saturated fats is high in calories.

Mono unsaturated fats.

These tend not to raise blood cholesterol levels. Some oils and margarines, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds contain mostly monounsaturated fats. Like other fats, mono unsaturated is high in calories.

Poly unsaturated fats.

These can also help lower blood cholesterol if they replace saturated fats in low fat meals. Some oils and margarines, fish, nuts and seeds contain polyunsaturated fats, which are very soft or liquid at room temperature. Like other fats, polyunsaturated fats are high in calories.

Too much cholesterol in the blood causes fatty deposits to build up in blood vessels, making it harder for blood to flow through. The gradual blocking of blood vessels in the heart may lead to a heart attack. The following levels of blood cholesterol are a useful guide.

Desirable: less than 5.5mmol/litre

Increased risk: 5.5 to 6.4mmol/litre

High risk: 6.5 mmol/liter or more.

Heart disease

‘We can all be at risk’. What causes heart disease?

You are at more risk if you;

  1. Have high blood pressure.
  2. Have high blood cholesterol
  3. Are overweight.
  4. Physically inactive.
  5. Have unhealthy diet.

The more of these, the bigger the risk you are taking.

Your risk is also greater if your parents had heart disease by their sixties.

A few stapes for high blood pressure, cholesterol and fat and heart health maintenance.

All the conditions mentioned above can be managed wholesomely by observing the following.

You can help to prevent your blood pressure increasing and control the risk of heart disease.

  1. Reduce fat and salt intake.
  2. Avoid tobacco use.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Do regular physical activity.
  5. Have a healthy diet.
  6. Get your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol every few years.