Hypertension: NHF appeals to FG to address socioeconomic factors

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By Oluwafunke Ishola

The Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) has appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address the socioeconomic factors behind the non-compliance to anti-hypertensive medicines and regular hypertension screening among citizens.

Prof. Basden Onwubere, Chairman of the NHF Hypertension Committee, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos in commemoration of World Hypertension Day.

 

World Hypertension Day, celebrated annually on May 17, seeks to promote increased awareness of high blood pressure and accuracy in blood pressure measurement, especially in low to middle income countries.

 

The theme for the 2024 celebration is “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer.”

 

According to the World Health Organisation, hypertension (high blood pressure) is when the pressure in one’s blood vessels is too high (140/90 mmHg or higher).

The health agency said hypertension, if left untreated, could lead to severe health complications, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.

Onwubere lamented that hypertension continues to increase among the citizens, putting the prevalence at over 40 per cent of the adult population.

He said urgent action was required to improve diagnosis, treatment, and control rates to reduce the burden of hypertension in the country.

According to him, only 30 per cent of hypertensive patients are aware of their status, worsening morbidity and mortality from the devastating impact of the disease.

 

“We encourage individuals to monitor their blood pressure regularly but it’s unfortunate that the price of the blood pressure monitor is above the reach of an average Nigerian.

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“Before, you could get it for N10,000, but now, the cheapest cost is from N35,000 upward. How many Nigerians can afford to own one.

“Also, the anti-hypertensive medicines are unaffordable for many patients leading to non-compliance of prescription dosage,” he said.

 

Onwubere attributed volatility in foreign exchange, inflation, and high cost of production as some factors driving the challenges, urging the government to urgently put measures in place to ensure Nigerians have access to treatment.

 

He emphasised that it was critical to empower people to accurately measure their blood pressure (or have it measured for them), take control of their health, and embrace lifestyle changes.

 

According to Onwubere,   hypertension often goes undetected due to its asymptomatic nature, making it imperative for individuals to undergo regular blood pressure screenings.

 

He advised lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, quitting tobacco, and weight control as some measure that could assist lower blood pressure. (NAN)

 

Edited by Vivian Ihechu

 

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