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24.03.2007 General News

Hypertension to become major cardiovascular disorder

By myjoyonline

Hypertension is likely to become the major cardiovascular disorder in the country for the next 50 years.

A Physician and Lecturer at the Ghana Medical School, Professor Joseph Pobee, said the situation would be alarming if measures were not taken to check its predisposing factors from getting higher.

Studies in Ghana have shown that ageing, increase in body mass, moderate to heavy use of alcohol and cigarette favoured high occurrence rate of high blood pressure in the societies.

Prof. Pobee made these observations at the launch of three books he has written, which threw more light on the emerging problems of cardiovascular diseases in the country.

The books are: Heart of the Matter, Community Profile of Cardiovascular Diseases of a Sub-Saharan African Country and the Ghana Paradigm - Mamprobi Cardiovascular Health Project 1975-83.

Prof. Pobee said a study carried out in Ghana in 1974 on high blood pressure amongst 2000 public servants in Accra and Tema by the World Health Organisation (WHO) International Project on Community Control on Hypertension indicated that there was high occurrence of hypertension cases among urban Ghanaians.

He said hypertensive heart diseases, kidney failure, strokes and heart attacks constituted 32 percent of all deaths, with the percentage being higher in middle age group and the single leading case of deaths in adults.

The studies also noted that females were at the risk of developing hypertension much higher after the birth of their third child.

He said it was expensive to treat hypertension with drugs as medications ranged from 5-125 percent of the minimum wage and some of the side effect of the drugs likely to diminish a patient's potency put them off.

Prof. Pobee called for non-drug measures in the control of hypertension, which included dietary by reducing weight or maintaining the ideal weight, exercise and avoiding sedentary habits.

He called for the intensification of public education about the disease.

A Physician and Lecturer at the School of Public Health, Dr. Fred Wurapa, who reviewed monographs of the author, noted that the three books were landmarks in the study and control of cardiovascular diseases.

He said until very recently there was not much documents and information on diseases associated with lifestyles since the perception was that the country's health problems were overwhelmingly those of infections and parasitic infections, malnutrition and disorders that impacted adversely on safe motherhood.

He called on the various stakeholders in the health delivery sector to make hypertension a major public health issue like the communicable diseases.

Professor Samuel K. Owusu, Lecturer at the GMS re-iterated that hypertension was the leading disorder in cardiovascular diseases in the country.

He emphasized the need for the country to treat the disease as a public health importance and the necessary resources allocated for its control.

The first three copies of the books which were auctioned were bought by the State Insurance Company (SIC) for ¢20 million, second copy went to the GMS for ¢15 million and the third one went to School of Public Health for ¢20 million.

The total of seven books bought during the auction section amounted to ¢110 million, which included pledges.