Community awareness of stroke, hypertension and modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease in Nkonya-Wurupong, Ghana

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Melissa Murray
Carol King
Cecilia Sorenson
Elaine Bunick
Renee King *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Renee King | renee.king@ucdenver.edu

Abstract

Hypertension and other non-communicable diseases are growing risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke in lowand middle-income countries like Ghana who are experiencing the effects of rapid urbanization and globalization. Awareness and education may help reduce the population’s exposure to modifiable risk-factors. A survey from a central clinic outside the city of Ho, in the Volta region investigates participants’ level of awareness and education surrounding hypertension and stroke. It provides important information about the approach to education and preventing modifiable risk factors. A central clinic in Nkonya-Wurupong, Ghana, evaluated 1671 patients in July 2016, and a group of 302 adults over the age of 18 provided a convenience sampling. The survey examined three main areas: demographics, medical history, and evaluation of knowledge with respect to stroke and cardiovascular risk factors. 18.5% of participants demonstrated hypertension (BP ³ 140/90). 30% of those with hypertension were female. Thirty-five percent believed hypertension was a risk factor for stroke, and only 26% were currently medicated for hypertension. Poor diet, obesity and alcohol were the most frequently identified risk factors for stroke and 86% of participants felt that it was preventable. However, diet, heart disease, smoking, obesity, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle or alcohol were not uniformly identified as stroke risk factors. One-sided weakness was the only symptom the group associated with stroke. Other symptoms included in the survey were headache, slurred speech, visual changes, dizziness, and facial droop. Educational resources included TV, school, internet, radio, medical books and health professionals and 7% responded that they had never been educated about stroke and its risk-factors. Knowledge of hypertensive consequences including cardiovascular disease and stroke varies significantly along with stroke identification and educational sources. However, many indicated that stroke is due to lifestyle and can be prevented. It is unclear what respondents believe these lifestyle choices are. This data suggests there are major areas where healthcare education is needed. Discerning baseline health in developing countries will become increasingly important when evaluating an area for health resource allocation including patient health education programs


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