18 Million Ugandans Battling Hypertension-Uganda Heart Institute
The Uganda Heart Institute (UHI) has sounded an alarm over the increasing number of people battling hypertension saying this is putting a strain on health facilities.
Speaking at a media session held on Friday ahead of the World Hypertension Day to be marked next week, Dr James Kayima, a Consultant Cardiologist at the Institute says their most recent estimates show that between 25 percent and 30 percent of Ugandans are battling high blood pressure.
The doctor says this is partly exacerbated by the highly stressful environments that people are living in. Other factors that could predispose someone to high blood pressure include having kidney disease, people born with narrowing of blood vessels, and hormonal imbalances among others.
He reveals that a big number of people admitted to the institute with a stroke report having no prior knowledge of hypertension, a reason they are encouraging individuals to routinely check for high blood pressure whenever they report to a health facility for whatever reason.
Figures shared by the Institute are quite similar to the World Health Organization-WHO data which shows that while hypertension remains a major cause of premature death worldwide, only less than half of adults living with the condition at 46% are diagnosed and treated. Only 1 in 5 adults (21 percent) with hypertension have it under control.
The figures also show an estimated 1.28 billion adults aged 30–79 years worldwide have hypertension, most (two-thirds) living in low- and middle-income countries like Uganda.
The theme for this year’s World Hypertension Day is “Measure your blood pressure accurately, control it, and live longer”. It focuses on combating low awareness rates such that the prevalence of the disease can be reduced.
According to the World Health Organization, they have set a global target of reducing the prevalence of hypertension by 33 percent between 2010 and 2030.
Doctors worry that prevalence is instead just increasing.