Hypertension – a silent killer

When Rutendo Nhari collapsed at her home and was pronounced dead on arrival at Mount Darwin Hospital, local villagers suspected witchcraft.

Two years earlier, Rutendo’s mother had died under similar circumstances and the unlikely coincidence prompted family members to seek advice from a traditional healer. The Ngoma told the family that an uncle who lived five km away was responsible for the curse, and if nothing was done, more family members would die. The healer charged $300 for the advice.

However, Rutendo’s brother, Henry, had misgivings about consulting a traditional healer.

“I don’t buy into the idea of witch hunting, but there was nothing I could do because the rest of the family suspected foul play,” he said.

The results of the post-mortem revealed that both mother and daughter died of a stroke brought on by high blood pressure, a condition also known as hypertension.

Dr Nomsa Dzimai, a doctor at a referral hospital in Harare, said hypertension was a serious condition that should be treated with the concern that it deserves.

“High blood pressure involves both complicated and uncomplicated cases. People with uncomplicated hypertension may experience headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath and blurred vision.

“Complicated cases result in heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure or impaired vision. However, there are times when signs go undetected and that is more dangerous. That is why hypertension is sometimes called the silent killer. It is a danger because it affects the circulation of blood,” she said.

The doctor said there were many causes of high blood pressure, namely a high intake of salt, obesity and hereditary kidney failure.

Dr Kennedy Kachuruka, a traditional healer and curator of the Zimbabwe Traditional and Healers’ Association pharmacy, said they had herbs to cure hypertension. He also advised those suffering from the condition to seek conventional medical care.

Post published in: Health

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