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The Silent Killer Among The Youth Today– Hypertension And Diabetes | GBC Ghana Online – The Nation’s Broadcaster

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By Beatrice Senadju

“Hypertension and Diabetes are silently claiming more lives among the youth than the older generation. These non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are no longer a preserve for the old but cases among the youth have shot up drastically and this is troubling”. That’s according to the Programme Manager of the Non-Communicable Disease Control Programme of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Efua Commey.

Dr Commey made this revelation during an exclusive interview with GBC News’ Beatrice Senadju in Accra. Her comments come at a time the world including Ghana is working around the clock to reduce the increasing numbers of hypertension and diabetes cases recorded annually, especially among the youth across the country.

Records from the Non-Communicable Disease Control Programme of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) indicate that 1,772,801 hypertension cases were recorded in health facilities across the country in the last three years. Out of that number, an average of 600,000 new hypertension cases are recorded annually.

Non-communicable diseases are diseases that are not spread through infection or through other people, but are typically caused by unhealthy behaviours. They are the leading cause of death worldwide and present a huge threat to health and development, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The disease usually causes cardiovascular-related illnesses such as heart attacks, stroke, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) hypertension and diabetes.

The prevalence of these diseases and their risk factors have increased over time, killing about 41 million people each year. This figure is equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally, and the deaths occur mainly among people aged between 30 and 70 years. According to available data, NCD deaths are currently affecting people below 50 years, the productive population in many communities in Ghana. Dr. Commey said this is alarming as it negatively affects the socio-economic development of the country.

Dr. Efua Commey disclosed that prevalence among the younger group between the ages of 18 years and below stands at 6% with an average of 15% recorded among persons with ages 40 and below while 29% of hypertensive cases are recorded in adults over 40 years.

“Hypertension and Diabetes are not restricted to the old anymore. In times past, anytime stroke was mentioned, one would expect a 70-year-old and above, but the narrative has changed, we now have persons as low as 30-year-olds reporting to the hospitals with stoke, diabetes and cancers. This is a worrying trend which must be properly looked at”. she said.

“This generation is more stressed than any other generation. We eat late, sleep late and have little or no exercise. These lifestyle changes are contributory factors to increased cases of hypertension and diabetes and there is a need to manage them meaningfully. We must inculcate the habit of exercising regularly” she reiterated.

The Non-Communicable disease unit is calling on all especially the youth to frequently check their hypertension and diabetes status at least every month as early detection can help avoid NCD-related deaths. Dr. Efua Commey also stressed the need to cut down on processed foods, reduce the intake of salt, fats, and monosodium glutamate, which is the main ingredient in bouillon cubes. She appealed to the media to help sensitize the populace on NCD-related cases especially Hypertension and Diabetes, a silent killer which can be averted.

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