Plans to snub a silent killer

Professor Alta Schutte, director of the Hypertension in Africa Research Team, busy monitoring a patient’s blood pressure

Professor Alta Schutte, director of the Hypertension in Africa Research Team, busy monitoring a patient’s blood pressure

A first-of-its-kind hypertension clinic, which focuses on high level blood pressure research, has opened its doors on the North-West University (NWU)’s Potchefstroom campus.

The clinic was established after research found that blood pressure-related diseases and deaths were increasing, especially among black people in South Africa.

According to Professor Alta Schutte, director of the Hypertension in Africa Research Team (HART) at the NWU, their previous research already indicated that black people are more inclined to die from blood pressure-related diseases than white people.

About 70% of black male teachers suffer from high blood pressure.

Equipment to the value of millions of rand has now been put into service at the clinic that creates the opportunity of better researching blood pressure and cardiovascular-related diseases so that they can sbe treated earlier or even prevented.

“Blood pressure diseases among this race group are a trend that is on the increase and requires immediate attention. Research in the clinic will specialise in various aspects of hypertension. Early tracing and prevention of hypertension as well as raising awareness will receive attention.”

The National Research Foundation has announced that they will spend R7.5-million over five years on this research area.

“We are ecstatic about these funds, which means that our research can now be taken to new heights. It also affords the opportunity to more post-graduate students who want to continue their studies and research,” says Schutte.

Among other things, the planned research requires that a number of young people be tested for blood pressure-related risk factors and followed up annually.

“Through this we want to determine exactly which physiological changes take place over time with the development of high blood pressure. We can then use this information for the prevention of the disease and to carry out interventions.”

 

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