Physician warns Nigerians against self-medication

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A physician, Prof. Christy Okoromah, has warned Nigerians against self-medication, as some of the elements included in drug products can endanger the heart.

Okoromah, who is the Head of Pediatric Cardiology and Infectious Disease unit, University of Lagos, stated this in Lagos in furtherance of the World Hypertension Day.

According to her, a lot of the drugs Nigerians buy over the counter and consume have the predisposition to cause persistent hypertension.

“There are many drugs Nigerians and the general public just buys over the counter and consume without realizing that it can cause persistent hypertension.

 “(Take a thing) like acetaminophen, which is contained in panadol, paracetamol (for example).

“Drugs must not be taken carelessly, people buy steroids, they give to asthmatics; it can also cause hypertension.

“Ibuprofen; oral contraceptives that contain estrogen and progesterone can also cause hypertension.

“I want to emphasize children can also have hypertension, but unfortunately we are not looking out for that.

“Many people wonder what children have to do with hypertension.

“We are not looking out for it, even in hospitals we are not doing it properly; these are some of the things that we need to change.’’

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against a person’s artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems such as heart disease.

Okoromah, a Consultant and the Director, Medical Education Development unit of the university, spoke of the need to raise awareness even amongst healthcare professionals “regarding the fact that we need to be monitoring and measuring blood pressure in children properly.

“It’s not just enough to measure, get a value systolic, diastolic; because in children, you have to interpret it using their height and their age.’’

Self-medication is a human behavior in which an individual uses a substance or any exogenous influence to self-administer treatment for physical or psychological ailments.

The most widely self-medicated substances are over-the-counter drugs used to treat common health issues at home, as well as dietary supplements.

These do not require a doctor’s prescription to obtain and, in some countries, are available in supermarkets and convenience stores.

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