Hypertension prevalence rises in older adults – Expert

Ibadan, Feb. 13, 2018 (TNE) : Dr Olufemi Olowookere, a consultant family physician and geriatrician with the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, says there is a dramatic increase in hypertension prevalence in older Nigerian adults.

Olowookere disclosed this in Ibadan on Tuesday, saying that there is prevalence of systolic hypertension in older adult.

“When hypertension develops, it is a risk factor for stroke and sudden death,’’ said the expert.

He blamed the prevalence of the disease in the country on imitation of western lifestyle especially diet. “It’s been shown that there is a dramatic increase in hypertension prevalence with aging; so that is number one fact that you must know.

“It is not a function of whether you eat this or you don’t eat that; so if it is in a younger population you can be talking about some of the things that people do, may be lifestyle.

“But there is a dramatic increase that is number one of hypertension prevalence in the elderly; by the age of 70 years at least majority of them will have had hypertension,” Olowookere said.

He highlighted risk factors of hypertension in older adults to include stiffening of arteries as a result of aging, which increases the prevalence of systolic blood pressure.

According to him, others are people with metabolic disorder such as diabetes and high cholesterol in the body.

“Also, half of the people over the age of 60 and about three quarter of the age of 70 will also develop it, so the prevalence will gradually increase as people grow older.

“People with hypertension are at the risk of developing cerebra vascular disease known as stroke.

“For some people you cannot say this is the cause that is known as primary hypertension,” Olowookere said.

However, the expert stated that lifestyle measures have worked effectively in the elderly.

He noted that Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) which entails weight reduction, good exercise, increase potassium and low sodium, reduction in alcohol intake as well as abstinence from smoking are working well in the treatment of hypertension in older adults.

“The commonest problem that a lot of people present in the society is stroke; counseling is very important to stem the tide of its prevalence,” Olowookere said.

The Chief Medical Director at UCH, Prof. Temitope Alonge, said “about 30 to 35 per cent of elderly in Ibadan and Oyo areas of Oyo State are hypertensive’’ according to the survey of the hospital’s Rapid Response Initiative.

Alonge spoke recently at the donation of ambulances to the Tony Anenih Geriatric Centre, UCH, Ibadan.


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