A national survey conducted by a team of pathologists, on the causes of sudden death in the country, has found High Blood Pressure also known as hypertension as the leading cause of sudden heart failure in Nigeria, with over seven million people dying from it annually.
Presenting their report during a symposium organised by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) on Tuesday 21, 2017, themed: “Sudden death in Nigeria-Public dissemination of national survey findings”, the researchers who divided their findings presentation into three sections, noted that if no urgent step is taken to stem the negative tide, the rate is expected to double by year 2020 with 83 percent of sudden death cases occurring in developing countries.
The study which was conducted over a period of ten years, from 2003 to 2013, across the six geopolitical zones of the country, enrolled eleven tertiary medical institutions and one police clinic. The research team comprises Dr Shoyemi from LASUTH; Dr O.O. Odubela, Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Research Group NIMR; Dr. B.Iwalokun, (NCD) Research Group NIMR; and Dr Clement Okolo, from UCH.
According to the researchers, a total of 642 cases of sudden death were autopsied during the review period, and South West region accounted for 70.9 percent of the total data used for the study. It was also established that the population sample had more males than females, with the most prevalent risk factor identified as hypertension, which accounted for 52 percent of the cases.
While addressing press men at the event, the NIMR DG, Professor Babatunde Salako emphasised the essence of regular blood pressure check up, saying it is the easiest disease to diagnose, but unfortunately, it is the leading cause of sudden death in the country.
He therefore urged all Nigerians to always seek the assistance of their caregivers to check their blood pressure as often as possible, in order to reduce the burden of sudden heart failure in the country.