By Vivian Ihechu
Nestle Nigeria PLC, a leading nutrition, health and wellness company, says there is need to tackle the urgent health challenge of hypertension as its prevalence of 30 to 40 per cent in Nigeria is high.
Maurico Alarcon, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nestle Nigeria, made the assertion at a news conference to commemorate the 2017 Work Hypertension Day (WHD), on Wednesday in Lagos.
World Hypertension Day is observed annually on May17 to create awareness of hypertension, its devastating effects and to encourage citizens to prevent and control it.
The WHD was firs inaugurated in May 2005 and the theme for 2017 event is: “Know Your Numbers’’.
A website, www.mayoclinic.org, says, “High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against one’s artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems such as heart disease.
“Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries.
“The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure,’’ it says.
Alarcon said that a study conducted by Adeloye et al, published in the February 2015 edition of the Journal of Hypertension, found that hypertension was a leading cause of mortality in Africa.
According to him, Nigeria, the most populous country on the continent contributes to this burden and the overall awareness of raised blood pressure among hypertension cases is low.
He said, “The World Hypertension Day is an opportunity to increase high blood pressure awareness by providing critical information to improve knowledge of the prevention and management of hypertension.
“Nestle believes it can help tackle the urgent health challenge of hypertension working with partners like the Nutrition Society of Nigeria.
“This is in line with our company’s purpose which is enhancing the quality of life and contributing to a healthier future.
“We live in times of immense challenge, unprecedented change and extraordinary possibility leading to changes in lifestyle and increased public health concerns.
“In the light of the need to create more awareness on the importance of health and nutrition, we support individuals and their families with tastier and healthier food choices, inspire people to lead healthier lives,’’ Alarcon said.
Dr Amanda Mbakwem, Professor of Cardiology, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and National President, Nigeria Cardiology Society said, “Empirical evidence confirms that hypertension is an important Public Health Challenge worldwide that is growing.
“It has a prevalence of 30 to 45 per cent in Nigeria.
“The risk factors include excessive salt intake, alcohol, kidney disease, lack of exercises, hormonal abnormalities and lack of water consumption.
“It is the most important risk to cardio-vascular disease. However, early detection is key to managing it,’’ she said.
Also, Dr Tosin Adu, Chairman, Nutrition Society of Nigeria said, “Although high blood pressure has a genetic predisposition, it is principally a lifestyle disorder.
“The statistics are frightening and the incidence cuts across racial and socio-economic barriers.
“Lifestyle modification is therefore key to both prevention and treatment,’’ Adu said. (NAN)