18 Jun 2013 09:50
WINDHOEK, 18 JUN (NAMPA) - A promising new treatment is now available in Namibia for State patients suffering from severe high blood pressure, or hypertension.
The Renal Denervation Therapy (RDT) treatment involves the introduction of a small catheter into the groin through an artery.
A cardiologist at the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Dr Simon Beshir announced the new treatment at a media conference here on Tuesday after two patients with severe high blood pressure took part in trial-based RDT treatment last month.
Beshir expressed satisfaction with the progress made by these two patients, noting that during the trial period, results showed that their blood pressure readings dropped significantly and could stay at the same level for the next five years.
RDT has been available in the United States of America (USA) and Europe for more than a year now. South Africa, and now Namibia, are the only countries on the African continent using this treatment.
?I am greatly encouraged by the results. The method is simple and safe. I believe this will become a standard of therapy for very high blood pressure in the future.
RDT is still rather expensive, and will have to be reserved for the patients whose high blood pressure does not respond to the usual medications,? Beshir explained.
High blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other health problems.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood, and if this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.
The treatment is currently only available at the Cardiac Unit in the Windhoek Central Hospital, and 12 patients with severe high blood pressure from all over Namibia have now been identified to receive the treatment over a trial period.
Treatment is available at a cost of N.dollars 150 000, and limited to only State patients at this stage.
Beshir said more equipment is expected to arrive in the country in due course, and more patients in dire need might benefit from the treatment in the near future.
High blood pressure is an epidemic which is currently sweeping across Africa, with 30 per cent of Namibians suffering from the illness.
Ten per cent of the Namibian patients suffer from severe high blood pressure, and do not respond to usual medications. Some patients take several different tablets, but these have little effect as their blood pressure remains high.
High blood pressure is a condition which is, however, preventable and easily managed.
Beshir advised a healthy balanced diet and enjoying an active, healthy lifestyle, which can help avoid the risk of high blood pressure, as well as reduce blood pressure which is already elevated.