Being African has been attributed as a risk factor in the occurrence of hypertension.
Medical Director of God’s Goal Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Gabriel Omonaiye made the attribution after a free medical outreach carried out recently in his hospital premises at Ojo, Lagos.
According to Omonaiye after his team attended to about a hundred participants who were given health education before getting tested, said the majority of the participants were okay medically except for some cases of high blood pressure.
“Most of the people we saw are okay, only that they do not have the knowledge of some things and that was why we first took them on health education for them to be aware of their vital signs and to know their state of health generally,” he said.
Omonaiye continued that, “Among the people we saw, there were people with high blood pressure, while others have some other medical problems.”
When asked what could be a reason for the high blood pressure prominent among a section of the participants, Omonaiye said, being African is a risk factor among other factors.
“We are Africans and being an African is a risk factor. The treatments we go through, the stress we go through, the harsh socioeconomic situation in the country, smoking, lack of exercise, obesity, alcohol consumption, a positive family history are other risk factors,” he said.
The University of Ilorin trained physician also revealed that, lifestyle is another risk factor. He mentioned several other factors people should beware of in order to be able prevent the condition.
“Lifestyle is one other reason people come down with hypertension. Genetic is also a factor, being a male is a factor, living in a society that takes so much salt is a factor. The economic situation is one other major factor as well. Having a lot of responsibilities to cope with is another issue to consider.
“For someone who is below 40 years of age having high blood pressure, then there is an underlining factor, whether he has a kidney problem or there are other things,” he said, advising people to always know their health status per time.
Talking about lifestyle, Omonaiye said lifestyle is a major factor. “People must desist from alcohol, especially those who are addicted to it. People need to desist from some things. Some mix so many drinks. It’s a problem, those things are destructive.
“Some people have said in the next five or ten years, there will be more cases of kidney problems and hypertension by reason of what young people now drink. Lack of response from the government on some of these things I have mentioned is also worrisome.
“Some parents are not even disciplined, there are cases of fathers smoking and the mothers selling local gins, what would become of the children?” He asked.
Omonaiye however enjoined people to embrace health education so they could prevent some health challenges they have not experienced because prevention is better than cure.
Buttressing his point that being black African is a risk factor in the case of hypertension, Omonaiye said there are more cases of hypertension among the African-Americans in the United States of America.
“Even in America, the blacks have more records of hypertension and it seems to occur earlier, this is because some things are genetically explained,” he said.
Meanwhile, a research that studied hypertension in Nigeria between 1980 and 2013 and generated 2,250 publications revealed an overall hypertension prevalence of 28.9 percent with a prevalence of 28.9 percent and 25.0 percent among women. Published on journals.lww.com, the study also revealed an estimated prevalence of 30.6 percent among urban dwellers and 26.4 percent rural dwellers.
According to the research, by 2030, there is a projection of an increase in cases of hypertension among Nigerians at least 20 years old with a prevalence of 30.8 percent in both sexes.
The study however hope the information revealed would cause an appropriate public health response towards the burden as the prevalence of hypertension is high in Nigeria due to several factors.
*Report by Dayo Emmanuel