Over 70% of Nigerians with Hypertension unaware of it – Chairman NHF

Over 70% of Nigerians with Hypertension unaware of it – Chairman NHF

  • Says HBP is major heart disease affecting 38% of adult Nigerian

The Chairman of the Nigerian Heart Foundation, Prof. Basden Onwubere, has raised alarm over the low level of awareness of hypertension in Nigeria, stating that more than 70 percent of Nigerians who are living with High Blood Pressure, HBP, are unaware of it.

Onwubere raised the alarm when NHF joined the rest of the world to mark 2022 World Hypertension Day with a theme, ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer.’

He said that globally, more than one billion people are known to have Hypertension and the figure is estimated to increase to 1.5 billion by 2025.

Onwubere said: “Of great concern is the fact that more than half of the individuals with Hypertension are unaware of it. In many of the low and middle income countries, less than 40 percent are unaware. In some of these countries’ awareness levels are even less than 30 percent.

 “A nation-wide survey in Nigeria published about two decades ago by Akinkugbe et al showed awareness level for Hypertension of 30 percent and recent publications have not shown any significant improvement in this regard, and in Nigeria more than 70 percent of those with Hypertension are unaware of it though the population in Nigeria has increased significantly over the last decade. 

“This low level of awareness has given it the name: “The Silent Killer”. Hypertension is also noted in that publication to be the most common non-communicable disease, NCD, in Nigeria. 

“It is a known cardiovascular risk factor with a significant number of global deaths attributable to its complications. Studies also show very poor control levels of HBP worse in the Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

“Cardiovascular Disease (heart disease) is the commonest cause of death in the adult population in Nigeria and Hypertension is the number one heart disease affecting about 38 percent of the adult population. 

“In addition, Hypertension is the main risk for stroke, heart attack (coronary heart disease), chronic kidney disease, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms and dementia.

“This year’s WHD theme is Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer. The WHL has chosen this theme based on current statistics showing uncomfortably low awareness and poor control of HBP especially in the Low and Middle-Income Countries.”

He charged relevant governmental agencies in the health sector to ensure adequate prevention of avoidable deaths and morbidity in the country.

According to him, “a crucial first step for control of hypertension and achievement of the WHO Target 2025 for a 25 percent reduction in uncontrolled hypertension is to improve hypertension diagnosis and strategies have been put in place to encourage BP screening and awareness programmes in communities, and this Target has been adopted in the latest review of the Federal Ministry of Health Multi-Sectoral Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non Communicable Diseases 2022 – 2025.

“To maintain adequate control of hypertension, it is advisable to maintain the following lifestyles: reduce salt consumption and maintain a policy of ‘no added salt’ after food has been prepared with appropriate quantities of salt.

Choose a healthy diet which includes vegetables and fruits. Do not smoke. Smoking has no known benefits. Limit alcohol consumption. Your Healthcare managers will advise you on this. Maintain healthy weight. Avoid sedentary lifestyles. Exercise at least 30 minutes daily,” Onwubere advised.

 

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