Dietary habits of hypertensive patients in a tertiary hypertension clinic in southern Nigeria
Introduction: The prescriptions regarding non-pharmacological care in the management of hypertension has been carefully defined by the various practice guidelines. However, there is paucity of data on dietary practices in our environment, therefore this study set out to determine the dietary practices of hypertensive patients residing in southern Nigeria.
Methods: Across-sectional study that utilized a semi structured questionnaire as well as a 3 weekday and a weekend food diary to document the types of food, fruits, snacks and vegetables taken. Patient's knowledge of salt containing food items, volunteered salt consumption practices was also sought. Blood pressure control was determined using present practice guidelines.
Results: A total of 509 patients were studied (M:F ratio of 1:2.2), an age range of 22-97 years. Of the total number, 392(77%) volunteered modifying their diet; mainly salt reduction in 188(47.5%), reduction in quantity of food in 72(18.2%), predominantly carbohydrate restriction in 82(20.7%), amongst others. The number of patients who ate fruits were 418(82.1%), mostly oranges 268(64.1%) and pawpaw 145(34.7%). One hundred patients (19.6%) met the recommendations stated in the guidelines of eating vegetables daily while 145(28.7%) had a vegetable meal at least 3 times a week. Patients who did not meet these recommendations displayed a trend towards poor blood pressure control.
Conclusion: The diet of hypertensive patients attending clinic was mainly carbohydrate based with inadequate intake of fruits and vegetable. They also had an incomplete knowledge of the effects of salt on hypertension. These dietary practices are likely to have in part influenced the blood pressure control.
Keywords: Hypertension, lifestyle, diet. Nigerian