Thursday, May 18, 2017

In Africa: Expert decries neglect of non-communicable diseases in Africa

Researchers from the University of Birmingham have just ID’ed a new cause of high blood pressure : what they have called Connshing syndrome. They found that many people with Conn syndrome—an overproduction of the adrenal hormone aldosterone—also make too much cortisol, which is likely responsible for their increased odds of diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression. Up to 10 percent of hypertensive patients have Conn syndrome, but current treatments don’t take their cortisol spike into account. This discovery may help change the way the patients are treated.

Dr. Abdulrahman Jafar decried the neglect of such group of diseases, and particularly identified hypertension and diabetes as NCDs that had proved to be more deadly.

Dr. Abdulrahman Jafar of the Department of Family Medicine, Specialist Hospital, Lokoja, Kogi State has decried the alarming rate at which Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) were killing patients in Africa.

Jafar also decried the neglect of such group of diseases, and particularly identified hypertension and diabetes as NCDs that had proved to be more deadly than the communicable diseases.

The medical doctor, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of this year’s World Hypertension Day (WHD) activities on Wednesday in Lokoja, tasked stakeholders to pay more attention to the NCDs.

“Concerned authorities have demonstrated massive attention towards containing HIV, Ebola, Lassa fever and other communicable diseases; similar attention must be extended to NCDs, especially hypertension.

“Government should engage the services of medical experts to sensitise the populace on what they should know, and encourage them to go to hospitals for regular checkup,” Jafar said.

The expert described Hypertension as a ‘sustained-elevated blood pressure’ which could be caused by age, family history, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.

Other possible causes include sedentary lifestyle and some disease conditions like diabetes, chronic kidney infection, among others.

He said that there were two types of blood pressure – essential, which is commonly seen among men that are 55 years and above and also in women who are 65 and above.

“We also have non-essential hypertension usually common in young people, caused by chronic kidney disease.

“Chronic kidney disease is one of the commonest causes of secondary hypertension in recent times; it has often led to thyroid gland enlargement and thyroid diseases,” he explained.

He advised people to watch their diet and avoid consumption of alcohol, salt, saturated fats and processed foods because they could easily cause hypertension.

“People should also avoid drug abuse, smoking, herbal concussion, bleaching agents and sedentary lifestyle.

“Regular exercises are also very important to burn off fat in human bodies and ease the flow of blood,” he said.

NAN reports that the WHD is marked on May 17, to raise awareness on hypertension and how to prevent and manage it. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Know Your Blood Pressure”.


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