The prevalence and correlates of hypertension in a theological college in Africa
Background: The Theological College is a peculiar setting. This is due to the nature of the job, studies, attitudinal leaning (faith) and influence. There has been no known work to date done on the cardiovascular status in institutions of this nature-both in the country and in the continent of Africa. This formed the basis for evaluating the prevalence of hypertension and its correlates in one of the foremost theological colleges in Africa, the Trinity Theological College, Umuahia. Method: The entire constituent working-student population in the sandwich program of August 2004 at the Trinity Theological College, Umuahia, were recruited in the study. Their biodata, demographic distribution, anthropometry, pulse rate and blood pressure measurements were recorded under standard conditions. Their lifestyle habits were evaluated. Structured questionnaires were used with self administered screening done by medical doctors. Results: Eighty five subjects, with mean age 43.7(±9.9) years, were screened. The prevalence of hypertension was found to be 28.3%. Only 8 subjects admitted being known hypertensives, out of whom 6 were on treatment. Fifty three percent (45) of them checked their blood pressure irregularly, while 28 (33%) never did. Twenty six respondents (31%) admitted taking extra table salt, while 39 (46%) never engaged in any form of exercise. Conclusion: The prevalence of hypertension in this community is higher than that of the general Nigerian population. There is a great need for adequate health education especially with regard to regularity of blood pressure check and lifestyle modification, in the Theological Colleges, given the influence they wield in the larger society.
Nigerian Journal of Medicine Vol. 17 (1) 2008 pp. 88-94