The prevalence of hypertension and its modifiable risk factors among lecturers of a medical school in Port Harcourt, south-south Nigeria: Implications for control effort
Background: Hypertension and other noncommunicable diseases are currently responsible for at least 20% of all deaths in Nigeria, and constitute up to 60% of the patients admitted into the medical wards of most tertiary hospitals in Nigeria. Yet, the treatment outcomes for the diseases have remained very poor, prompting calls for better patient
education. It has however been established that the effectiveness of patient education is linked to the healthy habits of the doctor. This study was conducted to find out the prevalence of hypertension and its modifiable risk factors among the lecturers of the University of Port Harcourt Medical School.
Materials and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used, with the data collected using a modified form of the WHO STEPS instrument that consists of a questionnaire component and the measurement of body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure. The questionnaire was used to collect information on the sociodemographic
characteristics of the respondents, the use of tobacco, the consumption of alcohol, the type of diet, and the amount and types of physical activities undertaken.
Results: A total of 75 lecturers participated fully in the study, out of an eligible total of 109. They were mostly males (65.33%), married (88.33%), and had an average age of 46.06 ± 9.62 years. The prevalence of hypertension was 21.33%; out of which 12 (75.00%) were already aware of their status, and were on appropriate therapy. Only 13 (17.33%) of the
lecturers were of normal weight, 45 (60.00%) were overweight, while 17 (22.67%) were obese. Only 2 (2.67%) currently smoke, while most (94.67%) drank less than three standard units of alcohol in a day, mainly in social occasions.
Conclusion: The prevalence of hypertension among the lecturers in the medical school was lower than that in the general population, mainly due to their better health-seeking behavior and healthy lifestyle.
Key words: Epidemiological transition, hypertension, medical lecturers, modifiable risk factors, Nigeria, Port Harcourt