High blood pressure puts one in three Nigerians at risk

Nearly a third of Nigerians experience high blood pressure, a figure which has grown by 540 per cent since 1995, a study suggests.

Female doctor checking the patient's blood pressure

The rate is increasing faster in women than men and more than half of people with the condition in Nigeria are unaware they have high blood pressure, researchers found.

With awareness having the condition so low, prevention and educational programmes are vital to tackle the increasing threat of the disease, experts say.


Researchers carried out an analysis 53 studies about the condition in Nigeria, which involved some 80,000 people.

They found that among people with high blood pressure – also known as hypertension – only 29 per cent are aware they have the condition, while only 12 per cent took medication for the condition.

Case growth

The study estimates that there were more than 28 million cases of hypertension in Nigeria in 2020, rising from four million in 1995.

Growth in population, a move towards more urban living, and changes in lifestyle including diet have contributed to this dramatic growth, experts say.

Hypertension puts people at risk of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.

International collaboration 

The research team, led by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and researchers in Nigeria, say that hypertension poses significant public health and economic threat in African countries, comparable to malaria and other infectious diseases.

Their findings have been published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

This study, a follow-up to a similar in 2015, provides further evidence on the clinical response to hypertension in the Nigeria, with more than half of hypertensive individuals untreated and/or with poorly controlled blood pressure, which some researchers suggest may increase the risk of getting severely ill with COVID-19. The current findings strongly support a need for improved and comprehensive nation‐wide population preventive strategies.

Dr Davies AdeloyeUniversity of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute

Related links

Paper in Journal of Clinical Hypertension

Usher Institute

[Image credit: AleksandarNakic via Getty Images]