NIMR: Hypertension Leading Cause of Sudden Death in Nigeria

Rebecca Ejifoma

The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has revealed that high blood pressure remains number one killer disease in Nigeria, accounting for about 52 per cent cause of sudden deaths in the country.

The Director-General of NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako, made this known at a symposium on ‘Sudden Death in Nigeria: Public Dissemination of National Survey’ held at the research centre in Yaba, Lagos.

Citing Wikipedia, the DG defined hypertension, also known as high blood pressure (HBP), as a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated.

According to Salako, hypertension is a silent killer which 70 per cent of people were not aware of. “It is a silent killer because it usually comes with no early symptoms.

To stem the rate of sudden death, Salako urged Nigerians to keep a healthy lifestyle, do regular exercises and blood pressure checks, eat healthy and avoid sedentary lifestyle.

The Head, Non-Communicable Disease, NIMR, Dr. Nkiru Odunukwe, said sudden death had become a leading global health problem. “Over seven million people are estimated to die suddenly annually, representing 40 per cent of the annual global deaths.”

Continuing, she said without appropriate interventions, the rate was expected to double by 2020 with 83 per cent of sudden death cases occurring in developing countries. “The declining incidence of sudden death in developed countries has been attributed to availability of detailed research data for adequate intervention programmes.”
In his remarks, the Head of Immunology and Vaccinology Research Group in NIMR, Dr. Bamidele Iwalokun, urged health workers to improve on national surveillance guidelines on sudden death identification and reporting.

He shared details of the report, which shows a total of 642 cases of sudden death were autopsied during the review period. The South-west accounted for 70. 9 per cent of the total data brought in for the study. There were a total of 410 (63.8 per cent) males and 232 (36.2 per cent) females in the study, giving a ratio of 1.8.1.The age group most affected was 41-50 years (21.2 per cent) with the least affected in the age range of 18-20 years (1.25 per cent)

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