Emotional stress as a risk for hypertension in sub-Saharan Africans: Are we ignoring the odds?
Malan, Nico T.
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"Globally most interventions focus on improving lifestyle habits and treatment regimens to combat hypertension as a non-communicable disease (NCD). However, despite these interventions and improved medical treatments, blood pressure (BP) values are still on the rise and poorly controlled in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Other factors contributing to hypertension prevalence, such as chronic emotional stress, might provide some insight for future health policy approaches. Currently, Hypertension Society guidelines do not mention emotional stress as a probable cause for hypertension. Recently the 2014 World Global Health reports, suggested that African governments should consider using World Health Organization hypertension data as a proxy indicator for social well-being. However, the possibility that a stressful life and taxing environmental factors might disturb central neural control of BP regulation has largely been ignored in SSA. Linking emotional stress to vascular dysregulation is therefore one way to investigate increased cardiometabolic challenges, neurotransmitter depletion and disturbed hemodynamics. Disruption of stress response pathways and subsequent changes in lifestyle habits as ways of coping with a stressful life, and as probable cause for hypertension prevalence in SSA, may be included in future preventive measures. We will provide an overview on emotional stress and central neural control of BP and will include also implications thereof for clinical practice in SSA cohorts."
- Faculty of Education