World Heart Day: Experts worry over increasing hypertension
Hypertension is one subject every Nigerian should be wary of. This is because the numbers are increasing. Fifteen to 20 years ago, about 11 percent of adult Nigerians were expected to have hypertension but today the story is different. Cardiologists are now reporting scary figures of 30 percent and above among the populace.
This revelation is coming to light even more as cardiologists are expressing fears that some regions in Nigeria are reporting as high as 40 percent. Based on current report, 41 percent of Nigerians have hypertension.
Unfortunately, most Nigerians are ignorant of the fact that hypertension is hazardous to heart health. According to a recent survey hypertension rates in Nigeria jumped from 11 per cent in 1997 to 40 per cent in 2013.
Every year, the World Health Federation, WHF and the World Health Organisations, WHO, mark the World Health Day on 29 September to draw attention for people across the globe to take part in the world’s biggest intervention against cardiovascular disease, CVD. This year focuses on creating healthy heart environments by ensuring that everyone has the chance to make healthy heart choices wherever they live, work and play. The day also encourages us all to reduce our cardiovascular risk, and promotes a heart-healthy planet for those around us.
Healthy heart choices: The theme for this year is “Healthy Heart Choices For Everyone, Everywhere’.
WHO had set a target for reducing premature mortality from cardiovascular disease and other non communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25 per cent within 2025.
Speaking on this year’s theme, experts urged Nigerians to make healthy heart choices.
An Associate Professor of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Dr. Amam Mbakwem who noted that hypertension is one subject every Nigerian should be aware of said more blacks have hypertension than whites basically because the way blacks handle salt is a bit different.
With this year’s theme, “know Your Numbers”, for the World Hypertension Day on Sunday, Mbakwem said that people tended to hold onto more salt because of the climate.
She explained that diet is another reason for the high rate of hypertensive cases in black people hence the need for Nigerians to make healthy heart choices. Nigerians stood more risk of hypertension because of their lifestyles. In some recent studies involving trans fats, researchers found trans fat consumption was associated with a 34 percent increase in all-cause mortality, a 21 percent increase in the risk of coronary heart disease and a 28 percent increase in the risk of death from coronary heart disease.
The researchers stressed the need for dietary guidelines be carefully considered because of the health effects of recommendations for alternative macronutrients to replace trans fats and saturated fats.
Mbakwem said: “It is not just the numbers whether it is 120 or 140 but the damage that it causes because with blood pressure high in the system, it is heating the brains and it can damage the brains and when that happens, we talk about stroke.
Mbakwem urged every adult to know their blood pressure numbers by maintaining a good habit of regular monitoring and medical checks with home blood pressure checks.
In the views of Chairman, Board of Trustees, Nigerian Heart Foundation, NHF, Emeritus Professor Akinkugbe, healthy nutrition is an important part of a healthy life, hence, the need for food manufacturers to provide education on heart-healthy foods.
“Food labelling across the world develops community awareness on healthy foods and provideopportunity for healthy food choices and the NHF Heart Check Food Labelling Programme is a systematic endorsement of food items certifying them healthy for consumption and heart friendly with emphasis on low fats and cholesterol, low sodium and low glucose.”
He said Nigerians should begin to make on-the-spot healthy food choices. NHF Executive Director, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye noted that nutrition was central to the major NCDs ravaging the world today.
WHO report: According to WHO report, number of deaths from hypertension, stroke, heart attacks and other circulatory diseases is on the rise, climbing from 12.3 million deaths to 17.3 million.The report also showed that efforts to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases appear to be working as the rise in deaths is slower than the overall growth of the population. This is coming on the heels of a recent survey that shows that hypertension rates in Nigeria jumped from 11 per cent in 1997 to 40 per cent in 2013.
Globally, the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases increased by 41 percent between 1990 and 2013, climbing from 12.3 million deaths to 17.3 million deaths. Over the same period, death rates within specific age groups dropped by 39 percent, according to an analysis of data from 188 countries.