By Maxwell Obiri-Yeboah
A recent study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in conjunction with the Community Health Department at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in Accra, has detected an ailment, which is very prevalent amongst adults, to be hypertension.
According to the study report, specialists who conducted the research picked indigenous adults from fifty years and above. Per the study, one out of every two adults is hypertensive.
It further explains that even those who have been diagnosed and on treatment are “ineffective”, in the sense that in every ten hypertension patients, only one person is taking his/her medication seriously.
Globally, the hypertension rate is around 30 to 45 percent, and as periodic studies reveal, the incidence is rising.
In 2015, a study conducted showed that 1.13 billion people worldwide were living with hypertension, and it is estimated that in 2025, the prevalent number of people would rise to 1.5 billion.
Hypertension is when the pressure at which the heart is pumping blood through the vessels becomes high.
This could be a result of old age, the vessels being stiff, or cholesterol plugs, which is actually blocking the flow, or it could be a condition whereby the body produces some things which reduces the lumen of the vessels that resist blood from flowing freely.
“Sometimes when you have kidney problems, you have a lot of fluid accumulating in the body. And it adds to your blood volume, so you realise that there is a lot more volume and the heart needs to push it, and this requires higher pressure to do this,” Dr. Seth Yao Nani, a Physician Specialist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, said at the periodic meetings organised by the Chief Executive Officer of the Holy Trinity Medical Center, Dr. Felix Anyaa, in Accra.
Holy Trinity Medical Center, a private health facility in Accra, is a general health diagnostic and treatment center, which has several doctors in various departments working 24 hours a day to correct the health problems in most Ghanaians, as well as foreigners.
During such meetings, gurus in the health sector gather round to share their knowledge and experiences at their various departments, and also discuss some trending health problems that need urgent attention.
Dr. Yao Nani explained further that sedentary lifestyles of people is a primary cause; people who sit a lot and are not active, bad eating habits; eating all the fast foods, junk food which tends to produce a lot of cholesterol, depositing them in the (blood) vessels, clogging it and causing so much resistance, leading to obesity, and in return, brings out the high blood pressure seen in people.
The Chronicle further pushed to find out if Ghanaians are aware their lifestyles are causing them more harm and were being mindful. Dr. Yao Nani expressed that “even worldwide, less than forty percent are aware they have hypertension… and we need more public health interventions. We need a whole national policy, and with the years passing by, I am sure we will reduce these numbers.”
The specialist advised that Ghanaians must exercise a lot to keep their hearts in good condition and certain sensitive body organs to stay healthy.
Regular checkups must be done by all people at a health facility, must also be encouraged amongst Ghanaians, so that physicians may be able to detect if anything is about to happen and the best medication given to evacuate or suppress its potency and negative impact on a patient.
Also, patients who have been diagnosed as hypertensive should continue taking their medication, for “it is very effective when you take them, and adhere to your doctor’s advice.”
He continued that the food intake must be watched carefully. According to Dr. Nani, fast food or junk food consuming must be reduced and organic foods with roughages, fruits and vegetables taken more to boost one’s immune system, and to prepare the white blood cells to be ready to fight all aliens penetrating one’s system.