Hypertension is the main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, which are the leading cause of death. However, there is a wide disparity in the number of people who are aware of their hypertensive condition, those who are being treated and are not controlled, and those who are being treated and are controlled. This makes it necessary to increase efforts to raise awareness and knowledge about hypertension, as well as initiatives to facilitate access to adequate and evidence-based treatment. Every May 17th, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization joins the global community to celebrate World Hypertension Day as an opportunity to emphasize the need to work on the prevention and control of hypertension, in order to prevent deaths from cardiovascular diseases.
On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, the regional event commemorating World Hypertension Day will be held in Santiago, Chile, with the participation of the PAHO Representative in Chile, Dr. Paloma Cuchí, and of the Minister of Health of Chile, Dr. Carmen Castillo. The event will be broadcast live in Spanish, via livestream on www.livestream.com/opsenvivo, from 8.30 am to 12.45 pm, Santiago time (see here the correspondence in your time zone).
To learn more about the event and consult the agenda, click on the right box or in the following link.
Situation of Hypertension
High blood pressure is the main risk factor for suffering and dying as a consequence of premature cardiovascular events and is the second leading cause of disability in the world. It is also the main cause of ischemic heart disease and stroke. Other complications no less significant due to poor blood pressure control are dilated heart disease, heart failure and arrhythmias.
The incidence of hypertension has doubled in the last 5 years in all social strata. It is estimated that between 20% and 40% of the adult population in the Region of the Americas suffer from hypertension. At the global level, it is estimated that of the people with hypertension, only 57% know their condition, 40.6% receive antihypertensive drug treatment but only 13.2% achieve controlled blood pressure figures. This gap between the number of hypertensive patients, the access to treatment and the achievement of control is accentuated in the middle and low income countries where 80% of the burden attributed to cardiovascular diseases occurs.
While high blood pressure is not curable, it can be prevented and treated to keep blood pressure figures below 140/90 mmHg. Adequate control is a cost-effective measure to avoid premature deaths. If we manage to treat half of the population with uncontrolled hypertension, including those treated with suboptimal and untreated blood pressure values, 10 million deaths globally could be prevented in 10 years due to cardiovascular events.
PAHO / WHO works with member states and its partners to improve programs for the control of hypertension, to promote policies that favor prevention and projects that contribute to the training and updating of health personnel, especially at the primary care level.
Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Initiative
PAHO has initiated a Cardiovascular Risk Reduction initiative through the control of hypertension in order to support the Ministries of Health to improve the control of hypertension and reduce the premature deaths associated with cardiovascular diseases. This initiative includes as essential elements the establishment of standardized treatment algorithms, improved access to a set of basic medicines, distribution of tasks in the health team, and patient registration and performance monitoring.
The project started with a pilot scheme in Barbados and is currently being implemented in Chile, Colombia and Cuba. The initial results show an increase in patients with access to treatment and improvement in the percentage of controlled patients in the clinics where the model is applied. You can download the cardioapp in the following link.
Cardiovascular Risk Calculator
It is an application developed by PAHO for mobile devices and computers, which helps the user to estimate the risk of developing a relevant cardiovascular disease, such as myocardial infarction, angina pectoris or stroke, in ten years. It is a tool that can help primary care staff rapidly estimate cardiovascular risk and engage with patients to analyze the extent to which risk can be modified.
Virtual courses for the control of hypertension and secondary prevention
One of the strategies used by PAHO to help improve the control of hypertension in the Americas is the training of health personnel in charge of preventing, diagnosing and treating this pathology correctly. Aware of the organ damage that hypertension produces, PAHO, in collaboration with various scientific societies, has made available to primary health care teams the following free-access courses in the Virtual Public Health Campus:
Note: all the courses are available only in Spanish, except the third one which is also in Portuguese.
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2. Chow CK, Teo KK, Rangarajan S, et al., PURE (Prospective UrbanRural Epidemiology) Study investigators. Prevalence, awareness,treatment, and control of hypertension in rural and urban communities in high-, middle-, and low-income countries.JAMA. 2013; 310: 959-968
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