Unscreened, undiagnosed, untreated and dangerous

High blood pressure (hypertension) rates in Africa have climbed by more than 30 percent in the last decade with the continent now being the epicentre of the disease. It affects an estimate 31 percent of men and 36 percent of women in South Africa; and is the single biggest cause of premature death globally.

Known as the silent killer, high blood pressure typically shows no symptoms until it’s (often) too late. Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, puts the rising prevalence down to urbanisation, an ageing population and a substantial increase in behavioural risk factors like alcohol consumption, smoking, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.”

The latest South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES) shows that among those with hypertension:

  • 48,7 percent go unscreened and undiagnosed;
  • 23,1 percent are screened, but undiagnosed;
  • 5,8 percent are diagnosed, but untreated;
  • 13,5 percent are treated, but uncontrolled and;
  • 8,9 percent are controlled.

“That means nine in ten hypertensive adults in South Africa go unscreened, undiagnosed and untreated,” remarks Jennings.

A screening of your blood pressure can be done with your general practitioner, at a pharmacy or with an at-home kit, which can be bought from most pharmacies. Get tested today and take better care of your heart!

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