• June 18, 2024
  • Last Update June 18, 2024 3:24 PM
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Free Hypertension Screening Draws Hundreds of Residents in Soin/Sigowet

Free Hypertension Screening Draws Hundreds of Residents in Soin/Sigowet


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

KNA by Kipyegon Mutai/ Sharon Chepwogen

Hundreds of residents at Kebeneti village in Soin Sigowet Sub County turned up for the free hypertension check-up conducted at the Kebeneti SDA Dispensary where 241 were found to have the condition, 24 percent of them new cases.

Medical statistics indicate that over 11,000 people suffer from hypertension in Kericho County while an estimated of 6,000 of these have been diagnosed with both hypertension and diabetes according to the doctor in charge of non-communicable diseases in Kericho County, Dr Stanley Kemboi.

Kemboi who spoke to KNA said hypertension is a condition where blood pressure is persistently above the normal range adding that the condition can be managed by choosing a healthy lifestyle including eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and tobacco and taking medication regularly as prescribed by a health worker.

The Clinician further explained that early detection and control was crucial, noting that amongst adults with hypertension, half are unaware they have the condition, and nearly 1 in 6 do not have their blood pressure under control.

He stressed that if the condition is not controlled, it can lead to heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and premature death.

“Screening is the cornerstone of high blood pressure management; it’s the first step to taking proactive measures to mitigate potential risks. Regular monitoring also enables individuals to track their progress and make informed decisions,” added Kemboi.

At the same time, the officer in charge of nutrition in Soin Sigowet sub county Bernard Yegon urged residents to avoid foods high in salt or added sugars such as soda and caffeinated drinks, baked goods, and many packaged foods which he said can contribute to high blood pressure.

Limiting or replacing these foods in the diet can help people manage or lower their blood pressure.

“Some people are not aware of how many calories they eat and ingest from drinks each day. They may underestimate how much they eat and wonder why they can’t lose weight. Writing down the foods you eat, including the portion sizes, can help you realise the truth about your food intake.

You can then start cutting back, reducing calories and portions to lose weight and manage your blood pressure. Be aware, too, of alcohol intake. Alcohol can increase blood pressure,” Yegon said.

Also present was Soin Sigowet Sub County Medical Officer of Health Dr.Clement Komu who commended the determination by community health workers and the complexities of their roles in identifying people with elevated blood pressure for diagnosis and monitoring of hypertension.

He added that understanding Community Health Volunteers’ roles provides insight into their required competencies in provision of their daily activities as well as required training to fill in their knowledge gaps.

“We have been able to organise our Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and provided them with blood pressure monitors to screen people at the community level as a measure towards addressing challenges of hypertension at the grass root. The CHVs also play a pivotal role in conducting patient follow-ups and facilitating referrals if need be,” he noted.

Hypertension Support Team representative Ms. Florence Rono, highlighted the challenges faced by hypertension patients which include anxiety about their health status, constant fatigue, pain, and functional impairments which provoke stress.

She added that hypertension can strain interpersonal relationships with loved ones and mood changes such as irritability, sadness, and depression which are common.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), empowering communities and individuals for self-care management of hypertension, incorporating measures such as low sodium diets, reducing tobacco and alcohol use, regular physical activity, and conducting periodic blood pressure assessments will reduce hypertension risk factors.

Courtesy; KNA

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