Hypertension on the Rise in Kenya
Heart conditions are on the rise in the country due to low public awareness on cardiac ailments and hearth health.
Dr Bernard Gitura, a cardiologist and President of the Kenya Cardiac Society in Kenya, is raising alarm over growing cases of hypertension and rheumatic heart disease in the country and he is challenging all Kenyans to go for regular blood pressure checks to ensure they live for longer.
“Hypertension is the number one risk factor for heart attack and stroke in the world, while rheumatic heart disease is the most common cause of heart failure in children and young adults below 35 years,” Dr Gitura opines.
“Rheumatic heart disease is preventable and treatable, as it arises from poorly treated throat infections,” he adds.
Speaking during World Heart Day celebrations at the Nairobi Railways Grounds, Senior Director at Healthy Heart Africa Ashling Mulvaney called on all stakeholders across public and private health sectors to work together to ensure that heart health awareness is raised across the country.
He intimated that treatment is available and training is being provided to tackle rising cases of cardiovascular diseases countrywide.
‘’We are working with Kenya Cardiac Society and the healthcare community to mark World Heart Day because we believe in the importance of partnerships in tackling the burden of cardiovascular disease in Kenya through awareness, screening and health sector strengthening,’’ intimated Mulvaney.
In 2015, the first nationwide survey on non-communicable diseases by the Ministry of Health and the STEPwise Survey [STEPS], revealed the low awareness of heart health amongst people in Kenya, and established that 23.8 percent of Kenyans had raised blood pressure, yet 56 percent had never been screened for it.
The survey`s assessment of risk factors found that 39 percent of the population is overweight or obese, with the results showing the importance of increasing public awareness regarding heart health in the country going forward.