Hypertension cases increase

Source: Hypertension cases increase | The Herald May 25, 2017

Health Reporter
The number of people suffering from high blood pressure continues to rise from an estimated 53 people in every 1 000 in 2012 to 70 people in the same population over the past five years, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has said. In 2014, an estimated 67 people in every 1 000 population were estimated to be hypertensive.

The number of new patients diagnosed of hypertension also continued to increase from 671 931 reported cases in 2012 to 718 648 people in 2016.

In an interview with The Herald yesterday, epidemiology and disease control director Dr Portia Manangazira said Zimbabwe was concerned with the continued increase of hypertension, considering that recorded figures were only for people who present to health institutions.

“We think this is just a tip of an iceberg since these people are only checked for hypertension when they visit our health facilities presenting with other illnesses,” said Dr Manangazira.

She said Government was seeking funding to conduct a national survey on the actual prevalence of hypertension to enable the designing of an appropriate programme.

“The last survey on hypertension was conducted in 2005 and what we have now are just institutional based statistics, which do not necessarily reflect the actual burden of the condition,” said Dr Manangazira.

“We are, therefore, looking for partners who can avail funding towards conducting the survey. Knowing the magnitude of the problem will help us design programmes that are in tandem with the needs of the population.”

Hypertension, also known as the silent killer disease, because it does not usually show any symptoms, is one of the major causes of death in Zimbabwe.

High blood pressure which is not managed can lead to impaired vision, severe headache, chest pain and difficulty breathing.

These problems can complicate to heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, rupture of blood vessels followed by paralysis and death.

These complications are preventable through early detection of high blood pressure and manageable once detected.