Hypertension Treatment Or Control, Which Is Achievable? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Hypertension Treatment Or Control, Which Is Achievable?

Posted: Jun 21, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Yinka Shokunbi LAGOS

It was a very engaging time out at the weekend when leading pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, gathered a number of medical experts as well as members of the public to discuss trends in the management of one of most topical issues in health, hypertension.

Drs. Amam  Mbakwem (right), Ademola Aderigbigbe; Chief Medical Director, LASUTH, Prof. Adewale Oke; Business Unit Head- Ethical Sanofi, Folake Odediran; Head Public Affairs, Oladimeji Agbolade; Abderrahmane Chakibi; and Dr. Inoussa Fiffen during the  launch of a new blood pressure control drug.

Drs. Amam Mbakwem (right), Ademola Aderigbigbe; Chief Medical Director, LASUTH, Prof. Adewale Oke; Business Unit Head- Ethical Sanofi, Folake Odediran; Head Public Affairs, Oladimeji Agbolade; Abderrahmane Chakibi; and Dr. Inoussa Fiffen during the launch of a new blood pressure control drug.

It was though during the official launch of its novel drug for the control of hypertension, a combination of irbesartan and amlodipine.

Two medical experts in the field of Cardiology and Nephrology, were on hand to shed more light on how best to tackle the management of the disease which is acknowledged as currently the leading cause of death among Nigerians especially those in the age bracket of 30 to 65.

Leading the discussion was Associate Professor of Medicine, Dr. Amam Chinyere Mbakwem, consultant cardiologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, who submitted that the best way to commence the management of a hypertensive is for the care provider to first evaluate properly whether the patient is merely suffering from elevated blood pressure or sustained high blood pressure.

“It is important to equally that the provider set a goal on whether the patient needs to be treated for his or her elevated pressure only (which in most cases are one-offs) or needs to be properly evaluated to find out what other co-morbidity factors exist such than the pressure would need to be controlled”, said Mbakwem.

She described hypertension as persistent elevation of the systolic and diastolic blood pressure above the accepted normal age and sex of a patient.

According to Mbakwem, there really is no one size fits all in the measurement of BP for everyone, “because the acceptable normal level differs by age, sex, profession or even the co-existing morbidity factors causing the elevation in the first place such as smoking, obesity, diabetes among others as more than 80% of hypertensives have been found to have additional comorbidities”.

She suggested the use of combination drugs for a patient with sustained blood elevation over a period of time with the goal of achieving a maximum reduction in the long term and risk in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality”.

In his presentation, professor of Nephrology and head of Renal unit, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Adewale Akinsola who was represented by former president of the Nigerian Society of Nephrology and Consultant Nephrologist, Dr Ademola Aderibigbe, established the link between hypertension and kidney failure which he noted has become a high occurrence in the Nigerian Society due to lifestyles of many young adults”.

Akinsola pointed out that there is really a lot of difference between high blood pressure and hypertension “however among Nigerians, the profile of hypertensives vary across the country and what we have not been able to establish is what exactly is responsible for why Nigerians who live in the North and eat a lot of salt have less cases of hypertensives than their counterparts who are in the south east or soutn west”, noted Akinsola.

He agreed that elevated BP is not the same as sustained BP “hence, every care provider seeing a patient must be ready to extract the right information from him to know what exactly is causing fluctuations in the BP because many patients could be clever in withholding information that are vital to their management”.

Akinsola and Mbakwem therefore called on care providers to always ensure they screen patients adequately to enable appropriate treatment regimen which could be treating elevated pressure or controlling sustained blood pressure.

Both experts recommend that Nigerians regardless of age and sex should engage more in lifestyle modification such as cut down in salt intake, exercising regularly, weight loss to control blood pressure and cut risk in kidney failure “since it has been established that when BP is controlled, you reduce risk of end time renal disease”, said Akinsola.

Speaking on the involvement of Sanofi in the provision of affordable and unique treatments for hypertension, Medical Director, Dr Fifien Inoussa said the company is concerned with the high rate of people who are coming down too frequently with hypertension in the country.

According to Inoussa, “People with uncontrolled hypertension are exposed to many complications including stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and problems with vision, which can be controlled by adopting healthy diets, lifestyle changes and, in many cases, treatment with medications.

“We already have it that in Nigeria, about 28.9% of the population has raised blood pressure while about 82% are not aware of this disease condition. By 2030, up to 39.1 million people aged at least 20 years may live with hypertension1 if nothing is done to reverse the trend”, the medical director observed.

General Manager, Sanofi Nigeria-Ghana, Abderrahmane Chakibi, noted, “By introducing a new antihypertensive treatment, Sanofi demonstrates its commitment to patients through improving access to high quality solutions in the field of hypertension management in Nigeria. APROVASC® introduction is another example of Sanofi’s engagement to always provide advanced and innovative treatments in response to patients’ specific needs with the highest efficacy and comfort. This unique combination is the result of years of development, clinical studies and safety proofing”.