Nearly a third of Nigerians experience high blood pressure, a figure which has grown by 540 percent since 1995, a study suggests.
The rate is increasing faster in women than men and more than half of people with the condition in Nigeria are unaware they have high blood pressure, researchers found.
With awareness having the condition so low, prevention and educational programs are vital to tackle the increasing threat of the disease, experts say.
Researchers carried out an analysis 53 studies about the condition in Nigeria, which involved some 80,000 people.
They found that among people with high blood pressure—also known as hypertension—only 29 percent are aware they have the condition, while only 12 percent took medication for the condition.
The study estimates that there were more than 28 million cases of hypertension in Nigeria in 2020, rising from four million in 1995.
Growth in population, a move towards more urban living, and changes in lifestyle including diet have contributed to this dramatic growth, experts say.
Hypertension puts people at risk of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.
The research team, led by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and researchers in Nigeria, say that hypertension poses significant public health and economic threat in African countries, comparable to malaria and other infectious diseases.
Their findings have been published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.
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