In the past, high blood pressure was always related to old age but these days, more and more young people are showing up at health facilities with complications of high blood pressure such as kidney failure, stroke, and hypertension.
This week, on the Vodafone Healthline, a programme which seeks to educate people on health-related issues, a Doctor at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Dr Josephine Akpalu, said this was as a result of the level of fats that young people were constantly building in their bodies.
“We put on weight due to our genes, and other minor reasons such as medication but the major reason why people put on weight is because of an imbalance between what they are eating and their output.
Too much fat
“When there is too much input and you are putting out very little, then there is going to be extra energy left and that extra energy will be converted to fat and your body will store it, hoping that you will use it another time.
But if your lifestyle is the same, then the extra will be stored as fat,” she explained. She said it was that extra fat that led to health implications which included physical health problems and mental health challenges.
“If you have extra fat in your body, it has a lot of health implications but the one we usually talk about is the physical health implications such as stroke, heart problems, liver issues, kidney failure, and exposure to cancers.”
“It is the extra fat that is leading to the high blood pressures,” she stated.
Where fats are stored Dr Akpalu noted that where the fats are normally stored in the body was critical to the physical health of the individual. “Where the fat will go is also important.
When you put on weight some go under the skin and some go inside around your organs and these are known as abnormal fats and that is what leads to all the diseases. The one under the skin only affects your joints.
“But the one that is inside is what produces the hormones that cause diseases. People will put on weight and most of it will be around their waist or arms but it does not mean some of the fat is not in. For a typical woman, when they put on weight it is at the lower side of their body while its upper for men.
“If you get the upper body kind of fat then it means that the fat is likely inside and that is what causes diseases,” she explained.
Commenting on whether liposuction, a surgical procedure that uses a suction technique to remove fat from specific areas of the body, had any health benefits, she said it only had cosmetic benefits and no health benefit.
“They are just redistributing fats that are under the skin and it is for cosmetic benefits but has no health benefits,” she said.
Advice to public
Dr Akpalu advised the public to eat healthy and well-balanced foods at all times to avoid fats building up in the body.
“All these problems are caused by the food we eat so we must eat healthy and balanced diets. There are proportions of food types that you need to eat to have a balanced diet.
“If you eat too much carbohydrate, that contains more energy so if you eat lots of that then you are putting lots of energy in you and if you don’t use that energy, then it will turn into fats. “If your diet is more of a vegetable, you won’t get lots of fat in you,” she advised.