Prevention and Management of “the silent killer.”

The prevalence of hypertension / high blood pressure worldwide is of a progressive nature. According to statistics in a survey done by the American Heart Association, estimated that 103 million U.S. adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure which is almost half of all adults in the United States.

In this day and age, the category of diseases that has proven to be strikingly fatal globally, are cardiovascular diseases, where over 18 million people succumbed to them in the year, 2017. Even with this gruesome situation being a reality there has been significant progress that has been made in finding new and effective ways of managing cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure in specific. The key to maintaining low or no rates at all of high blood pressure is focusing on improving and maintaining healthy and productive lifestyles and not waiting to gain the disease and figuring out how exactly to manage the disease.
Prevention, Control and Management.

The sad and inconvenient truth about high blood pressure is that it has no warning signs, yet it can lead to be advance health conditions such as a heart attack, kidney failure or a stroke. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the first and most effective way of preventing high blood pressure. This will include; going on and staying on a healthy diet, this can be done by starting small by limiting the amount of sodium (salt) and instead, increasing the amount of potassium intake in one’s diet. As well as eating low fat foods and increasing intake of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. The second check box on a healthy lifestyle is engaging in regular exercise. Regular moderately intense aerobic exercise such as brisk walking for about 2 and a half hours a week can not only help one maintain healthy weight but also increase one’s productivity and mood in their day to day work. Individuals who have take a lot of alcohol and smoke as well are at higher risk of getting high blood pressure and gaining additional weight that can lead to obesity. To prevent this, these individuals are encouraged to limit their intake of alcohol and tobacco. Management of stress and learning how to relax has been proven to improve the emotional, mental and physical health of individuals and lower high blood pressure. Techniques that an individual can use are; exercising, listening to music, focusing on something calm or peaceful thoughts, meditating and yoga.

Final note:

For individuals who have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension, there should be no reason to lose hope and let the disease drag you behind in you day to day activities. All the techniques mentioned above and regular medical care and strictly following the prescribed treatment plan will keep one’s blood pressure healthy and effectively help manage the disease

High Blood Pressure, The ‘Silent Killer’ you need to know about

Good health is a merit need in every human’s life, from diets and exercise to yoga and meditation, we all do what we have to do to achieve a healthy livelihood. These attempts of good health are also directed to evading a mellow creeping yet very common disease known as high blood pressure, hypertension or systolic blood pressure.  

Medics term high blood pressure as the occurrence of an abnormally high amount of force that blood exerts on the arteries walls as it flows through them. This diagnosis can lead to severe health problems. Statistics from a survey by the World Health Organization (WHO) showcase that, high blood pressure is projected to cause about 7.5 million deaths annually, which is 12.8 % of total deaths globally. This translates to about 57 million disability adjusted life years (DALYS) or 3.7% of total DALYS that also reduce the general human mortality rate.

High blood pressure is a dangerous disease because its occurrence has a spillover effect that may bring about the actualization of prospective risk of acquiring fatal ailments such as stroke, heart failure, renal impairment, retinal hemorrhage and visual impairment disease. High blood pressure can be categorized into two types; essential high blood pressure which is the type that is not preceded by a specifically identifiable cause and; secondary high blood pressure which is as a result of another heath problem.

It can also be categorized in stages:

  • Prehypertension (120/80 to 139/89) – Stage 1
  • Mild Hypertension (140/90 to 159/99) – Stage 2
  • Moderate Hypertension (160/ 100 – 179/ 109) – Stage 3
  • Severe Hypertension (180 / 110 or higher) Stage 4

Though strongly common, in most cases most people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. The difficulty in extracting a definite diagnosis of high blood pressure from individuals that suffer from it stems from the fact that high blood pressure is progressive in nature. It develops slowly over time and can be related to wide variety of causes generated either from an unhealthy lifestyle, genetics, pregnancy or mental stress among others.

Though it proves to be hard to be certain that an individual suffers from high blood pressure, testing for the disease has become quite available and affordable for all. This is evidenced by the availability of triage rooms in most hospitals where patients have an opportunity of getting their blood pressure tested before consultations. Once an abnormal pressure is noticed, to confirm the diagnosis of hypertension, additional tests such as urine and blood tests, electrocardiogram (ECG) tests and Holter monitoring tests are performed to determine the underlying cause and diagnose the patient with certainty.

Final Note:

Although high blood pressure causes alarm to many and does not have a cure many victims of the disease live happy and healthy lives by managing the disease. They do this by monitoring their blood pressure numbers in the comfort if their homes, regular healthcare visits as well as sticking to treatment, dietary and lifestyle plans that the doctor drafts for them.

Name That Shoe

Clothes maketh the man, but shoes define the man. Or woman. I just made this up so don’t quote me. Shoes are an important aspect of any outfit; you just can’t have good clothes and terrible shoes. Separate from the rest of your clothing, shoes are a visual endpoint and receive a disproportional amount of attention; despite covering only 5% of your body they can make-up more than 30% of the visual judgment we make when sizing up a stranger. So what are the types of shoes out there? I have outlined a few basic types that are popular on our streets so that the next time you go shoe shopping, you can name them instead of pointing.

WOMEN

  1. Flat Sandals

These are by far the most common shoe type on Kenyan streets. They come in a myriad of colors, materials and designs. They come in very handy on those casual days when you want the sun on your toes. They are usually easy and comfortable to move around in plus they give you a chic look. “A pair to cover every occasion, women’s flat sandals make an understated easy going statement.

  1. Pumps

A pump is a high heel shoe where the fronts of your toes are covered. The reason they are called pumps is because they are closed toe shoes and are usually without buckles. These will distinctly stand out if you are going for the ‘Boss’ look.  They may be made from any type of material ranging from leather to canvas.  Heels usually vary from half inches to 4 inches

  1. Wedges

This is another popular shoe type. This heel is different from other heels as it covers the shoe throughout in its lower section. Thy got their names from their heels which have a shape similar to a wedge. They can go with basically every outfit.  There is broad selection of wedges: wedge sneakers, wedge sandals, wedge boots and wedge heels. Usually they come in the form of sandals, but many types of wedge boots and wedge pumps are available in the market.

  1. Ballet Flats

Ballet flats are a soft, slipper like, closed toe shoe with no heel height, modeled after the shoes worn by ballet dancers. They are popular in warm environments, and feature very low and flat heel. They are a common sight and are popular across all age groups due to their versatility and comfort.

MEN

  1. Oxfords/Derbys

Most of us have owned a pair of oxfords at least once without even knowing it. They are characterized by their round toes and are usually with a cap. They have a close lacing style. These shoes are considered good options for a formal business wear. They are best worn with suits and formal wear.  I advise every man to own a classic pair of oxfords to wear with his 2-piece suit.

  1. Derbys

Derbys are also formal shoes like oxfords. The big difference between the Oxford and the Derby has to do with whether or not the laces are opened or closed from the vamp (front) of the shoe. Oxfords are closed, derbys are open. They go well with suits and formal wear.

  1. Brogues

Brogues are simply put, shoes that have decorative perforations, serrated details and separations along the visible edges of material.  This is the only requirement for a shoe to be categorized as a brogue. It can even be a derby shoe with perforations which is referred to as a brogue shoe. They are versatile in that they can be worn as outdoor footwear or as casual shoes.

  1. Loafers

These are quite popular on our streets and come in all shapes and colors. It is basically a low, step-in shoe without shoelaces or buckles. Their styles are wide and range, but the purpose of their construction is to fill the void between canvas shoes and dress shoes while maximizing comfort at a value price.

UNISEX

  1. Sneakers

One of the most versatile shoe types out there. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors and can be worn with almost anything.

  1. Boots

Boots are the universal go to shoes for cold weather. They are designed to cover and protect the ankles and lower legs. Not only are they practical, they are also known for their stylish look. There are many different types of boots like rigger boots, dress boots, chelsea boots, fashion boots, cowboy boots, hiking boots, etc

  1. Espadrilles

These are shoes or sandals that have a woven rope or similar material covering the wedge or sole. They are mostly flat but sometimes come in high heel versions too. They are made of material like canvas or cotton. The main characteristic of this shoe is the jute rope sole, as the upper section may different from one shoe to another. They are popular in warm weather areas.

WHERE TO GET THEM

Kenyans are savvy shoppers and are always looking for a deal. There are plenty of placed where you can go shoe shopping top of the list being the infamous Gikomba market. If you want something a bit more formal then you could pass by City Walk, Instyle Kenya, La belle and Backyard shoes. There also is a vibrant online shoe market with Aneri shoes, Shoeholic Planet, Shoe_ke, The foreman and mensshoesinkenya just a few popular stores you can check out. Don’t let my paltry list deceive you, there are far more shops, both physical and virtual, that you can check out.

SHOE SIZE GUIDE

I am sure you have come across some weird shoe size numbers that don’t make sense. Well, we’ve got you covered. Below is a quick shoe conversion chat depending on which market the shoe was bought from.

UK EUROPE US MEN US WOMEN JAPAN
3.5 36 4 5 22
4 36 ⅔ 4.5 5.5 22.5
4.5 37 ⅓ 5 6 23
5 38 5.5 6.5 23.5
5.5 38 ⅔ 6 7 24
6 39 ⅓ 6.5 7.5 24.5
6.5 40 7 8 25
7 40 ⅔ 7.5 8.5 25.5
7.5 41⅓ 8 9 26
8 42 8.5 9.5 26.5
8.5 42 ⅔ 9 10 27
9 43 ⅓ 9.5 10.5 27.5
9.5 44 10 11 28
10 44 ⅔ 10.5 11.5 28.5
10.5 45 ⅓ 11 12 29
11 46 11.5 12.5 29.5
11.5 46 ⅔ 12 13 30
12 47 ⅓ 12.5 13.5 30.5
12.5 48 13 14 31
13 48 ⅔ 13.5 14.5 31.5

 

NOTE:

American Women’s shoe sizes are the same as American Men’s shoe sizes plus 1½.

American Men’s shoe size = British shoe size plus •

Japanese shoe sizes are American Men’s shoe sizes plus 18. (Some companies say add 19.)

Tips to consider when shopping for groceries

We all go grocery shopping to pick food stuffs or items that we need. Some of us follow money saving tips while others just wing it. Below, I have outlined a few tips to stream line your shopping experience plus also save you a few shillings.

Buy fruits and vegetables that are in-season

This can be pretty straight forward but you may be surprised how many people actually follow this. Not only is it cheaper to purchase fruits and vegetables when they are in season, they also taste so much better.

Use a shopping list

If you are not already doing this, then you should. This neat trick will help you to avoid purchasing unnecessary items that you quite honestly don’t need or can do without. This will in turn help you save money. You can go a step further and include price estimates to your list, this will help you sum up or guesstimate how much you will spend before you even get to the shop/market.

Shop alone

Avoid taking your kids or friends with you while shopping. We are not trying to be antisocial here but there is a reason for this. Let us start with the kids. Kids will tend to make you buy things that they see and not necessarily need: candy, toys. I’m sure you have seen kids creating a scene or bugging their parent’s to submission to buy them something. If you can, leave them with a guardian. Friends on the other hand may influence your decision by having you try out other items that you wouldn’t buy if you were alone.

Beware of offers

Offers, how we love offers. There is nothing wrong with buying items on offer; we all love a good deal, right? Wrong!!! Sorry to burst your bubble but this is one big marketing strategy. There are some genuinely great offers every once in a while but I would advise you to only buy  something if you really need it. It might be an offer to buy three cans of shoe polish and get one free. Do you really need four cans of shoe polish? Learning how to save money in Kenya really needs you alert when doing your grocery shopping. Do not completely write off offers. I only say that you be cautious and not get offers that only offer you less money in your pocket.

Plan your meals ahead

Planning ahead for what you are going to cook over the week gives you a clear picture of how much flour, managu, tomatoes or beef you need to buy. Going shopping and buying food items on whims isn’t a good way to stay within your budget, nor is it an effective approach for eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. Planning your meals is also a sure way to clearly estimate how much you would need for the month for your household.

 Don’t go grocery shopping when hungry

Other than making it hard to concentrate, going grocery shopping on an empty stomach will cloud your judgment until you satisfy your visual hunger pangs. Simply put, you will buy lots of food you won’t need. This will most likely be processed or precooked foods that are most probably over priced and also not entirely great for your health (smokey). Please make sure you are not hungry and your kids are fed if they are accompanying you. You will save quite a lot at the end of the month.

Timing

Plan to shop early – Most grocery stores stock their shelves late at night or early in the morning before the store opens. Not only will you have better odds of all your items being in stock if you shop early, you’ll often have the best pick of produce.

Never shop on Sunday afternoons – From shoppers making their way to and from church to procrastinators hitting the shops before the weekend is over, Sundays are one of the most crowded times at most supermarkets. Doing major shopping at peak hours is a bad idea; it’s never fun to fight the crowds. More people in the supermarket means’ longer lines and longer lines mean more time you have standing in front of well displayed items that you need.

Always Help the Bagger

Few people actually do this and reason for not doing so is “Si analipwa”. Have you ever gotten home and found that the bread was packed at the bottom and your flour and  2 kg detergent stacked right on top? You now have bread that looks like a fist and flour that smells like lavender. Don’t let your food be squished and ruined at checkout. Help the bagger pack. This will help protect fragile items on the journey home and save time when it comes to unloading them.

There is so much more you can do to save money and get value for money while grocery shopping. These just happen to be a few things a personally follow.

6 Mobile Loan Apps

Mobile loan apps have transformed the lending landscape in Kenya. Banks have had a strangle hold on the industry for quite a while and have managed to lock out many Kenyans working in the informal sector. Mobile loan apps have managed to disrupt this status quo and provide alternatives to the masses. Some banks have had to join the band wagon as they try to salvage whatever is left of the large untapped informal sector. I have outlined a few of the industry players below that I have interacted with:

Branch

This app is the go to mobile loan app for most Kenyans. This can be in part to its aggressive  marketing campaign and also more to do with it being one of the early market entrants.  It was founded in 2015 and is currently the most downloaded loan mobile app in Kenya. They offer loans from  Ksh 250 up to Ksh 70,000. Some of its key features are quick approval of less than 24 hours and no rollover or late fee charges. Monthly interest is between 1% and 14%. Branch has a presence in three other countries: Tanzania, Nigeria and Mexico

Tala

Tala was the first instant mobile loan app in Kenya (as far as I can recall) way back in 2014. Back then it was known as Mkopo Rahisi before they renamed and rebranded. It has established itself as one of the most trusted loan mobile app in Kenya and claim to disburse loans in the shortest time possible, less than 10 minutes. They have a loan limit of Ksh 50,000 and is the second  most downloaded loan app google platy store in Kenya. Interest varies depending on your credit score but is on average 15%. Tala is currently present in three other countries: Tanzania, Philipines and Mexico.

KCB MPESA

KCB Mpesa is a “lucrative” partnership between the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and Safaricom. The loan platform started off as a savings account but quickly morphed into a loan app after seeing the potential of the then untapped mobile loan market. The minimum loan disbursement is Ksh 50 and the highest is Ksh 1,000,000. Interest is between 2% and 6% depending on the repayment duration.

Mshwari

Mshawari is another bank and telecom partnership. In this case, it is between Commercial bank of Africa (CBA) and Safaricom. It was founded in 2012 and has been an active player in the mobile loan app business ever since. The minimum loan amount that can be borrowed is Ksh 100 and the maximum loan limit depends on your account standing. Mshwari loans usually have a repayment duration of 30 days and attract an interest rate of up to 7.5% per anum. It is important to note that Mshwari is one of the best mobile loan solutions that is easy to get with minimum requirements since it is incorporated in the Safaricom Mpesa menu.

Okolea

Okolea is one of the smaller mobile loan apps in the market and also one of the late entrants. According to their website, it has over 150,000 registered users with 650 new daily registrations. They offer loans from as little as Ksh 100 to Ksh 100,000and they charge an interest of between 5% and 15%.

Haraka

Haraka is a division of South African lender Getbucks. It has one  of the smallest loan limits in this list, between Ksh 500 and Ksh 5000. I find it unique in that you are required to register via your Facebook account upon downloading the app. Haraka also has one of the highest interest rates in this list, they charge up to 23% as interest. This means that a loan of 1000/= will attract an interest of 230/= in one month and the repayment amount will be 1230/= The mobile loan app has a presence in five other countries: Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and South Africa.