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Hypertension crisis at Walvis Bay

Alarming hypertension statistics have emerged during a community testing campaign held at Walvis Bay in collaboration with Empathy Klinik and Westmed Pharmaceutical last week.

Dr Elago Mbadhi said hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is referred to as the ‘silent killer’ due to the absence of clear symptoms.

He said an individual with high blood pressure may develop severe headaches, blurred vision, and chest pain.

Throughout the week-long campaign, a total of 387 people were tested for hypertension, revealing 167 individuals with elevated blood pressure.

Among these individuals, 117 were unaware of their condition.

“We found 26 people walking peacefully and calmly, I mean happy people with no complaints at all, but with blood pressure levels in the zone of 200. That’s a walking stroke,” Mbadhi said.

He said 156 individuals required further medical attention and close monitoring.

The campaign, which targeted individuals aged 35 and above, aimed to promote awareness of hypertension and shed light on its prevalence.

Mbadhi advised everyone to proactively engage with their healthcare providers and request regular blood pressure checks to combat this growing health crisis.

He said the impact of hypertension is severe, as it could lead to strokes, heart disease, kidney disease, and even a loss of vision.

“By knowing their numbers, individuals can take the necessary steps to manage and prevent the onset of hypertension,” said Mbadhi.

A significant portion of the participants affected by high blood pressure were found to be factory workers, taxi drivers and street vendors.

However, despite the campaign’s efforts, Mbadhi said men’s participation proved to be a significant challenge.

“Men turning up is a challenge. Only 91 turned up in total, out of which 43 were found to have elevated blood pressure levels,” he said.

Mbadhi advised managing hypertension by quitting smoking, losing weight, dedicating a few minutes daily to exercise and reducing salt intake.

He said adopting these measures also makes it easier for medication to control high blood pressure.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), hypertension is prevelant among adults aged 30 to 79 worldwide.

A staggering 1,28 billion adults in this age group are affected by hypertension, with the majority of cases concentrated in low- and middle-income countries.

Approximately 46% of individuals with high blood pressure are oblivious to their diagnosis, the WHO says.

Less than half of adults with hypertension are diagnosed and treated, and approximately one in five adults with hypertension have it under control.

Recognising the severity of the hypertension epidemic, the WHO has set ambitious targets to address non-communicable diseases.

One of these goals is to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 33% between 2010 and 2030.