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Health News of Friday, 17 August 2018

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Undetected hypertension is major cause of sudden deaths in Ghana

A Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the National Cardiothoracic Centre at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Prof. Mark Tettey, says undetected and uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure) is a major cause of sudden deaths in the country. He explained that generally, hypertension can destroy the coronary vessels which supply blood to the heart and when that happens, the person might experience chest pains and subsequently a heart attack.

“These sudden deaths are often due to cardiac problems. For all you know, they might have had hypertension but might not know. Hypertension is a deadly disease and whatever it destroys in your body, you cannot get it back to normal. When hypertension destroys the brain vessels, you get a stroke, when it destroys your eyes, you go blind and when it destroys your heart, you get a heart attack or heart failure,” he stated.

“When hypertension starts, you will not know. It doesn’t announce itself. You only know you have hypertension when it has been there for a long period and it has already destroyed some organs in the body, for which reason you are showing the signs,” he explained.

Prof. Mark Tettey, who was speaking in an interview with Graphic Online, explained that heart attacks could lead to sudden deaths and heart failure, adding that should one survive a heart attack, the person could be disabled for life because the person would no longer be able to do all the things he used to do.

He pointed out that treatment for coronary artery disease is quiet expensive and, therefore, called on all persons to take good care of themselves and take medicine to control hypertension when they are diagnosed early in life.

He also advised the need for all persons to go for regular check-ups, at least once or twice a year, so that diseases which could be hidden such as hypertension could be detected early for treatment to begin.

“If you go for the check-up and you have it, see a specialist, at best a cardiologist to advise you on what to do. There are many quack herbal doctors going around saying hypertension can be cured. This is not true. If the cause is not known, you can’t cure it. You can only control it,” he pointed out.

Hypertension, according to Prof. Mark Tettey, is blood pressure that is consistently higher than 140/90, adding that often, the cause of the condition is not known and that is why medication is given to control it.

He called on all to be informed about the condition - how one could contract the disease, how to detect it and how it could be controlled if contracted.