‘76.2m Nigerians are hypertensive but only 23 million on treatment’

(Last Updated On: 2021-05-17)

• How hypertension, heart diseases fuel COVID-19 deaths, by NHF
• NMA says poverty, anxiety raise risk of hypertension
• Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg but 140/90 mmHg in Nigeria
• NHS decries high rates, urges Nigerians to go for check up

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the World Hypertension Day (WHD) today, May 17, medical experts have warned that no fewer than 76.2 million Nigerians are hypertensive. Executive Director, Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), Dr. Kingsley Kola Akinroye, yesterday, told The Guardian that the prevalence of hypertension is about 38.1 per cent (76.2 million out of an average population of 200 million people).

Akinroye, who is also a consultant cardiologist, said, in Nigeria, almost one in three adults (33.3 per cent) has hypertension, while only one third of this figure (about 23 million) are on treatment.

He said a survey by the Foundation showed the awareness of hypertension is more in the urban than rural cities and more amongst women than men. “Since the onset of COVID-19 in Nigeria, we have evidence that more people with heart disease have been affected or died from the pandemic than any other illness. Also, we are aware that the cost of treatment with anti-hypertensive drugs has gone up since the onset of COVID-19,” Akinroye said.

He noted that the ideal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg but, in Nigeria, normal blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg. “Any figure higher than 140 mmHg for systolic blood pressure or 90 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure is regarded as hypertension.”

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NHF is a non-profit and non-governmental organisation founded in 1992 to promote heart health, scientific research in cardiovascular health, healthy lifestyles and advocacy on heart issues. According to the NHF, heart disease is the leading cause of death globally and in Nigeria. Among the heart diseases in Nigeria, hypertension is the commonest in the adult population while others are heart attacks (coronary heart disease), heart muscle disease, and rheumatic heart disease in children.

ALSO, the Nigerian Hypertension Society (NHS) has decried the high rate of persons suffering from hypertension in the country, warning against the consequences of the development on the nation’s economy if left uncontrolled.

According to the President of NHS, Prof. Ayodele Omotosho, and Secretary of the body, Kolawole Wahab, in a joint statement yesterday, said hypertension, also known as High Blood Pressure (HPB), remains “the number one cause of preventable death worldwide.”

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