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Hypertension-driven disease rapidly rising in sub-Saharan Africa
Date:6/25/2013

NEW YORK (June 25, 2013) -- Based on the experience of a large hospital in Tanzania, Weill Cornell Medical College researchers have discovered a "startlingly" high burden of hypertension in this sub-Saharan African country.

In the Journal of Hypertension, the researchers say non-communicable disease -- driven primarily by hypertension, resulting in stroke and other cardiovascular diseases -- accounted for nearly half of the deaths and admissions during a three-year period at Weill Bugando Medical Center, one of Tanzania's preeminent teaching hospitals.

Previous research has hinted that hypertension may be a rising health issue in Tanzania, but this study, the first large prospective evaluation of hospital diagnoses and death, provides hard, confirmatory data, according to the researchers.

It paints a picture of an African country in which infectious and tropical diseases are declining, while stroke and other non-communicable diseases are rapidly increasing, says the study's lead author, Dr. Robert Peck, an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College and Weill Bugando Medical College.

"This is a striking finding, because most people assume that stroke is a disease of the developed world," says Dr. Peck, who has worked in Tanzania for six years. "To the contrary, our study shows the tremendous burden of stroke among adult inpatients at a typical African hospital.

"It may be that the exploding epidemic of hypertension-driven, non-communicable disease we found in Tanzania is occurring in other African nations," he says. "These findings have important implications for public health and medical intervention in sub-Saharan Africa, where communicable diseases have always been the top priority."

Death from hypertension was second only to HIV mortality

Weill Bugando, located in Mwanza, northwestern Tanzania, opened in September 2003 and has been affiliated wit
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Contact: Gerard Farrell
gerard.farrell@hkstrategies.com
646-317-7401
Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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