High Blood Pressure: The 4720-Year-Old Silent Killer

High blood pressure is a big problem in South Africa. A study, done in 2010, found that hypertension was the leading risk for death, by 67% since 1990 in sub-Saharan Africa (Campbell et al., 2015).

What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, like heart disease (Mayo Clinic Staff).

COVID Prevelence Rate In South Africa. South Africa went from roughly 40% positive rates to 97 to 100%.
The COVID Vaccination Rate In South Africa. KZN has a much higher rate of vaccination than mitchells plain.

Ancient China: 4720 Years Ago

The first mention of this disease was found in a copy of the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, a publication that was dated to approximately 2600–2700 BCE (Zhou et al., 2021).

They called it the ‘hard pulse disease’, and recommended cutting back on salt and using blood-letting to treat the condition (Zhou et al., 2021).

Ancient Egypt: 3520 Years Ago

This disease did not go unnoticed in other ancient centres of learning. Ancient Egyptian physicians have left notes on pulse quality and its connection to illnesses of the heart and brain (Zhou et al., 2021).

These writings were found in the Edwin Smith Papyrus, of 1600 BC, The Therapeutic Papyrus Of Thebes, of 1552 BC, and the Ebers Papyrus, dated to 1550 BC (Albinali, 2010).

In their own words, “If you examine a man for illness in his cardia, and if he suffers from pain in his arms, in his breast, and in one side of his cardia, it is death threatening him.”

This awareness still baffles modern scientists, as in 1500 BCE the Egyptians knew that we had blood flowing in our body that connected to the heart, but they did not know about blood pressure or that blood flow was limited to our veins (Albinali, 2010; Bestetti et al., 2020).

Ancient Greece: 2480 Years Ago

The ancient Greeks were fascinated by what we now call high blood pressure (Zhou et al., 2021). This can clearly been seen in surviving writings by famous ancient physicians like Hippocrates, Erasistratus and Galen (Zhou et al., 2021).

Despite, this focus for 4720 years, on one’s ‘hard-pulse’ it was only in 1928 that we could accurately measure whether someone had high blood pressure.

Why Is High Blood Pressure Kind Of A Ninja?

Obviously, high blood pressure is not a covert agent / mercenary from feudal Japan. But high blood pressure is a silent killer, something they have in common with those feudal Japanese assassins.

In Kalehoff, and Oparil, (2020) article which was aptly titled “The Story of the Silent Killer”, they said that, Hypertension (high blood pressure) is the leading risk factor for death and disability globally. Worldwide, it contributes to over 10.4 million deaths every year (Kalehoff & Oparil, 2020).

In South Africa, more than 1 in 3 adults live with high blood pressure, and it is responsible for 1 in every 2 strokes and 2 in every 5 heart attacks (The heart foundation).

It’s at this part that you may be wondering, but where the ‘silent’ part comes from?

Well, unless you have a special machine, which was only invented in the last 100 years of the 4000+ of studying this ‘hard pulse’, it’s impossible to know if you have high blood pressure (Kalehoff & Oparil, 2020). It shows no symptoms and yet it strikes without warning (Kalehoff & Oparil, 2020).

This is one of the reasons why between 44% to 93% of people with hypertension in sub-Saharan countries like South Africa are unaware of their status (Echouffo-Tcheugui et al., 2015).

COVID Prevelence Rate In South Africa. South Africa went from roughly 40% positive rates to 97 to 100%.

What Is Epicentre Doing In This, 4720-Year Battle?

Well, we’re not just writing about the issue, we’re offering a free blood pressure test with every Walk-In Lab package (custom or standard).

We believe that knowing what’s going on with your body is the first step to taking control. But we know that, like many things in South Africa, that’s often an expensive process.

So we’ve taken expense out of the high blood pressure screening process. Whether you’ve come in for our Diabetes Screening Package which costs just R50 or for our Thyroid Test Package at R680, or even a custom package designed just for you, you’ll be eligible for a free blood pressure test.

You’ll then be able to take those results and use them in a consultation with your preferred doctor to get advice tailored to your proven needs.

Learn More About Our Walk-In Lab

Epicentre has an extensive walk-in testing centre for both rapid and lab tests. Learn more here.

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