unhappy with high
level of hypertension in Kenya
and control of high blood pressure will
go long way in reducing heart attacks and strokes
(Xinhua) -- The UN World Health
Organization (WHO) on Tuesday decried the high level
of hypertension among the Kenyan public.
Kenya Country Representative Dr Custodia Mandlhate
told journalists in Nairobi that the prevalence of
hypertension is highest in some low income countries
sources are indicating that between 37 to 44
percent of the Kenyan adult population has
hypertension,” Mandlhate said during an occasion
to mark the World Health Day. The day, which marks
the 65th anniversary of the WHO, will be used
advocate against hypertension.
is a major concern in Africa and without
preventive action, an estimated 150 million people
will suffer in the region by 2025,” the country
lauded efforts by the African governments aimed at
tackling hypertension which is also known as high
is political will as health ministers have already
committed themselves to the Brazzaville
Declaration on Non Communicable Diseases,” she
also urged the speedy implementation of standardized
guidelines for hypertension management in primary
health care settings.
noted that the condition already affects one billion
people worldwide. According to the WHO, hypertension
can affect anyone.
of the people affected by the illness are not even
aware of the disease and its complications,” she
blood pressure is responsible for 1.6 million deaths
worldwide each year with 80 percent of those deaths
occurring in low-and middle-income countries,
leading to extremely high levels of Cardiovascular
Disease, more commonly known as heart disease.
blood pressure reading is made up of two parts that
are presented in the form of a fraction. The upper
half is the so-called systolic and the lower is the
diastolic – referring to the phase of the
heart’s pumping action in which the pressure is
is said to have high blood pressure when the upper
(systolic) reading is 140 mm and above, and/or when
the lower (diastolic) reading is 90 mm and above.
are several easy ways to ensure that you are high
blood pressure free including regular blood pressure
checking (at least once a year), reducing salt
intake, avoid too much alcohol and tobacco smoking,
eating a balanced diet, doing regular exercises and
with the high blood pressure condition should take
continuous medications or otherwise as advised by
the doctor. Mandlhate added that the illness may
become a drain on the financial resources of the
majority of the people affected.
of Public Health Permanent Secretary Mark Bor said
that the World Health Day provides a unique
opportunity for communities as well as policy makers
to promote actions that will improve health.
noted that prevention and control of high blood
pressure will go long way in reducing heart attacks
and strokes. “Each individual is therefore called
upon to take control of their own health by adopting
a healthy lifestyle,” he said.
noted that rapid urbanization as well as changing
family patterns are having a significant impact on
the health of people.
of Public Health, Director of Public Health Dr
Shahnaz Sharif said that average blood pressure in
Africa is now much higher than in Europe as its
prevalence has increased among the poorer section of
Kenya, non communicable diseases currently
contribute half of the top twenty morbidity cases.
This is regrettable as prevention of hypertension
is possible,” he said.
director said that consistent high blood pressure
can lead to damage of important organs in the body
such as the heart, brain and blood vessels.
of Public Health, Head of Department of Disease
Prevention and Control Dr Willis Akhwale said that
in order to ensure a normal blood pressure, the
public should eat food that contains less salt,
avoid excessive alcohol intake and have regular
majority of the population lifestyle changes are
sufficient to control blood pressure,” he said.
of Public Health, Head of Division of Non
Communicable Diseases Dr Waihenya Mwangi said that
in 2011, high blood pressure deaths accounted for
0.9 percent of all deaths, while loss of lives due
to chronic heart disease contributed to 4.25 percent
of all deaths.
government is therefore prioritizing the
prevention of non communicable diseases through
the use of a multi-sectoral approach, “ he said.
is will also ensure that hypertension drugs are
available in all public hospitals,” he said.
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