The President of the Nigerian Cancer Society (NCS) Dr Adamu Alhassan Umar, has said that currently reported prevalence of Hypertension in Nigeria in various studies is in the region of 30-35%.
Dr Umar noted this during a presentation on Impact of Sugar Sweetened Beverages ( SSB) on the health of Nigerians in commemoration of the Global Week of Action on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) workshop of stakeholders in the Health Sector organised by Project Pink Blue (PPB) in collaboration with Nigeria Cancer Society (NCS) in Abuja.
He said that in the African Region, as in most parts of the developing world, there are still more deaths from communicable diseases than from non-communicable diseases, but the prevalence of NCDs is rising rapidly.
According to him, Nigeria, like other African countries, is facing a dual epidemic of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
On Hypertensive Disease Prevalence in Nigeria, He said the survey of NCDs in Nigeria in 1992 reported a prevalence of about 10% for elevated Blood Pressure among Nigerians aged 18 – 65 years.
He said survey carried out in 2003 under the auspices of the WHO and the Nigerian Heart Foundation reported a prevalence of 28%
On Dietary risk, Umar explained that a can of soft drink contains about 35-40g of sugar (about 8 teaspoons), adding that a higher intake of soft drinks is associated with greater energy intake, higher body weight, and lower intake of essential nutrients.
“A high intake of free sugars is associated with an excess calorie intake, which if not compensated by energy expenditure will lead to an increase of body fatness.
“The higher the level of glucose in our blood, the higher the amount of insulin released. When insulin is chronically high in the blood stream, it causes inflammation and damages the lining of our blood vessels, leading to a host of cardiovascular-related concerns.
“There are other health consequences of excessive dietary sugar, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity, cancers, etc.
On Access to Diagnosis and Treatment, He said the Data from the Framingham Heart Study have shown that a 2mmHg reduction in population average diastolic blood pressure results in a 14% reduction in the risk of Stroke and Transient Ischaemic Attacks and a 6% reduction in the risk of Coronary Heart Disease.
Also, the Health expert, Omei Bongos explained that Sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) are drinks sweetened with various forms of added sugar such as sucrose, molasses, fructose corn syrup; they have a high sugar content and calories but of little or no nutritional value.