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17.10.2004 Health

Hypertension not peculiar to only developed countries

By GNA

Kumasi, Oct. 17, GNA - A veteran medical practitioner has strongly advised Ghanaians to disabuse their minds of the perception that hypertension and some heart-related diseases were peculiar only to the Western and developed countries.
Professor Joseph Orleans Mends Pobee, a specialist cardiologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, who gave the advice, said contrary to the perception, hypertension, stroke, diabetes and heart attacks among others, have now become diseases, which are prevalent in developing countries.
"Because of modernisation and the lifestyles of today's generation, hypertension affects not just the aged as previously believed but also the youth in society", he added.
Professor Pobee was delivering a lecture on the theme: "Eating, Growing and Heart Diseases" at a symposium organised by the Ghana Pharmaceutical Students Association (GPSA) of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi on Saturday.
It was intended by the association to use it as a platform to educate the general public especially the youth that heart diseases such as hypertension was not confined to only the aged and affluent in society but that it could affect the youth as well.
He observed that hypertension was now spreading at a fast rate in the country and has also become an important risk factor of diseases and deaths in the country.
Professor Pobee labelled it as "the epidemic disease of today". To buttress his point, Professor Pobee said, "hypertension is estimated to be associated with 85-90 per cent strokes, 50-60 per cent adult heart failures, 40-60 per cent chronic kidney diseases and failure as well as at least 60 per cent of heart attacks in the country". He said as a measure to check the trend and prevent its spread and eventually posing a bigger problem to the nation, the government should consider urgently injecting adequate resources into supporting educative programmes on how to prevent hypertension.
Professor J.K. Kwakye, Dean, Faculty of Pharmacy, KNUST, attributed the causes of most of the diseases to bad eating habits and wrong choices of foods.
Professor Kwesi Andam, Vice Chancellor of KNUST, who presided, commended the association for the symposium and hoped it would be extended to the various communities to enhance their understanding on such diseases.

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