Stroke cases among young people on the rise due to uncontrolled hypertension – Dr Commeh

Stroke cases among young people on the rise due to uncontrolled hypertension – Dr Commeh
A person in a wheel chair

Dr Efua Commeh, the acting Programme Manager of Non-Communicable Diseases of the , has cautioned that Ghana is experiencing an alarming increase in stroke cases among young people aged 40 and below.

She attributed the rise to the growing prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension, which is now becoming common among young people in the country.

Dr Commeh revealed that local hospitals were now treating stroke cases in people as young as 35 years and 40 years old, most of them resulting from uncontrolled hypertension, which was previously recorded mainly in people between 80 and 90 years old.

She noted that young people experiencing stroke symptoms often tell hospitals that nothing happened, and they suddenly collapsed, but they later find out that the individual has hypertension.

“These strokes that originally we used to see in very aged people are now occurring in the productive work group; people who are actively working,” she added.

Dr Commeh described hypertension as a serious health problem in the country, with hospitals recording more young people, sometimes in their 20s, reporting to health facilities with hypertension.

She disclosed that on average, the country records approximately 600,000 cases of hospital visits every year by people with hypertension.

Dr Commeh identified stress as the chief cause of stroke cases among young people in the country, pointing out that most young people in Ghana were stressed out, and this led to unhealthy lifestyles.

She explained that unhealthy diets, cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and physical inactivity were other causes of stroke among young people, which were contributory factors that raised blood pressure, leading to hypertension.

Dr Commeh advised young people to have enough rest, pay attention to their diet, and reduce fried foods, fats and oils, salts, and sugars to avoid getting hypertension.

She recommended that young people should take small walks in and around their offices after sitting behind their desks for two hours, climb office stairs once or twice a day, and eat more fruits and vegetables.

She also urged corporate organisations to undertake proper medical screening for their staff at least once a year. She advised young people already diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension to take their medication and follow a healthy lifestyle.

Dr Commeh also encouraged the public to regularly have their blood pressure checked, at least once a month, and to get conditions controlled if diagnosed with any to live healthier and longer.

“Test for fats, blood sugar, urine function, and blood pressure. That routine screening will help us so that if there is something going wrong, it can easily be picked up and managed,” she said.

With World Hypertension Day approaching on May 17, Dr Commeh reminded the public of the theme for the day, “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer,” stressing the need for people to pay attention to their blood pressure levels and take appropriate action to avoid complications.

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