Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Rise in hypertensive cases worrying

Statistics indicate that almost 50 per cent of adult Ghanaians are hypertensive, with 70 per cent of them unaware of their status.

The disease has gradually become a silent killer due to low awareness, killing about 50 per cent of complicated cases like stroke within 24 hours.

Ghana is recording high cases from the urban and rural communities.  

A recent report by the Ghana Health Service says more people are becoming hypertensive due to unhealthy lifestyles.

Doctors explain that hypertension is a silent killer because many have it for years without realising it. It silently damages the brain, the heart, the kidneys and the eyes.

Commonly referred to as high blood pressure or BP, hypertension is the major cause of strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and chronic renal failure.  

Unhealthy lifestyles, physical inactivity, tobacco usage and harmful use of alcohol are risk factors. 

 The prevalence of hypertension is higher in urban areas than rural areas in studies that covered both types of area, and increased with increasing age (prevalence ranging from 19.3 per cent in rural to 54.6 per cent in urban areas). 

However, the levels of hypertension detection, treatment and control were generally low (control rates ranged from 1.7 per cent to 12.7 per cent).

Experts say a further increase in the burden of hypertension should be expected in Ghana as life expectancy increases, coupled with rapid urbanisation. Without adequate detection and control, this will translate into a higher incidence of stroke and other adverse health outcomes, for which hypertension is an established risk factor. 

Prevention and control of hypertension in Ghana is thus imperative and any delays in instituting preventive measures would most likely pose a greater challenge on the already overburdened health system.

Schools, shopping malls, hotels and offices must create the opportunity for Ghanaians to be able to check their status regularly.

Screening and control programmes that use population-based strategies are needed; these programmes should involve changes in lifestyle, health promotion, increasing awareness and detecting individuals at risk of developing hypertension. 

We owe it to ourselves, families and the nation to know our numbers. Once we know our status, we save ourselves from heart attacks and damage to other vital organs in the body.




Read 423 times Last modified on Wednesday, 18 May 2016 09:15