Diabetes OurHealth Women's Health

“I thought I was too young to have a chronic illness”

Written by Cynthia Maseko

Cynthia Maseko, 31, is many things – a mother, wife and nationally published citizen journalist. She is also living with hypertension. She tells her story.

Mpumalanga-based citizen journalist Cynthia Maseko was diagnosed with hypertension more than four times before she started treatment

Mpumalanga-based citizen journalist Cynthia Maseko was diagnosed with hypertension more than four times before she started treatment

I always suspected that I may be suffering from high blood pressure. I worried when walking for more than 2kms would leave me aching with swollen feet. When I ate salt or oily food, or when I was stressed – I felt like my heart was racing.

Looking at my family history was almost enough to confirm my suspicions. My mother has been living with high blood pressure, also called hypertension, for eight years.

My husband always advised me to for a check up, but I always saw that as nagging. I never wanted to admit I might have high blood pressure.

This year, flu sent me to an Ermelo clinic. My blood pressure was taken and it was 155/93 if I am not mistaken. The nurse asked if I was on chronic medication for hypertension and I said no.

I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure more than four times but I was afraid to start treatment. I thought I was too young to be a patient with a chronic illness.

I feel like I failed myself and my children by not taking this illness seriously and putting my health above everything.

Now, I know that I have to think about who I love, and stop being ignorant and selfish.

Days after my appointment, I started taking medication to control my high blood pressure. I’ve started to make small changes in my life, like cutting down the amount of salt I use when cooking, to live a healthier lifestyle.

Believe me, I am 100 percent happy to finally admit that I am living with a chronic illness.

About the author

Cynthia Maseko

Cynthia Maseko joined OurHealth in 2013 as a citizen journalist working in Mpumalanga. She is passionate about women’s health issues and joined Treatment Action Campaign branch as a volunteer after completing her matric. As an activist she has been involved with Equal Treatment, Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and also with Marie Stopes Clinic’s project Blue Star dealing with the promotion of safe abortions and HIV education.