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AFCON Finals: Ten Ways to Prioritise Your Health

Following the clash between Nigeria and South Africa on Wednesday in the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Côte D’Ivoire, five individuals  reportedly lost their lives. While the cause of death remained undisclosed for others, one of the cases was reportedly hypertension.

Thus, ahead of the Sunday final match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Elephants of Côte D’Ivoire, West Africa Weekly has highlighted some crucial details on Hypertension and ways you can stay safe and prevent health complications while watching the AFCON finale.

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension, or High Blood Pressure (HBP), is a condition where blood vessels have persistent elevated pressure, increasing stress on them. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg, while hypertension is 140/90 mmHg or higher.

What Are Some Symptoms to Look Out For?

It often shows no symptoms, hence known as the “silent killer”. However, one can sometimes show symptoms such as headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, palpitations of the heart, and nose bleeds, but not always. It can lead to serious complications like heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and even death.

Who is at Risk?
According to WHO, hypertension affects about one in five adults globally and is a major cause of stroke and heart disease deaths, with 9.4 million annual fatalities attributed to its complications.

How to stay safe and prevent getting too tense while watching the match

Here are 10 ways you can protect yourself while enjoying the groundbreaking game on Sunday night:

Monitor Your Blood Pressure: Keep track of your blood pressure before, during, and after the match. Take necessary actions if you notice any significant increase.

Remain hydrated: Drink plenty of water instead of sugary or alcoholic beverages to aid proper blood circulation.

Manage Expectations: Understand that football is a game of ups and downs. Keeping a realistic expectation can help prevent excessive tension.

Practice Deep Breathing: Incorporate deep breathing exercises to stay calm and relaxed during intense moments of the game.

Avoid Excessive Alcohol: While enjoying a drink can be part of the experience, excessive alcohol consumption can heighten emotions and lead to irrational behavior.

Engage in Positive Distractions: Have other activities or hobbies available to switch to during breaks or halftime to help take your mind off the game temporarily.

Watch with Friends: Watching with friends who share your passion for football can provide support and camaraderie, making the experience more enjoyable and less stressful.

Avoid Online Arguments: Refrain from engaging in heated debates or arguments with opposing fans on social media platforms, as this can escalate tension unnecessarily.

Know your limits: Know when it’s time to step away from the game if it’s causing excessive stress or tension. Take breaks and prioritise your mental well-being.

Focus on Enjoyment: Remember that football is ultimately about entertainment and enjoyment. Try to focus on the excitement of the game rather than getting overly caught up in the outcome.


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