[Excerpt] Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of illness burden in the Americas, causing over 2 million deaths in 2017, a third of deaths overall for that year. While striking, CVD is threatening to have an even greater impact in the coming years based on the upward trend of the last decade . Raised blood pressure (BP), a significant risk factor for the development of CVD, causes over 50% of ischemic heart disease and stroke events and 17% of total deaths globally . The prevalence of hypertension (defined as SBP/DBP ≥140/90 mmHg or taking antihypertensive drugs) in Latin America and the Caribbean is 28% in women and 43% in men . Thus, effective identification and treatment of hypertension is central to CVD prevention and decreasing CV morbidity and mortality .
To address the growing burden of CVD, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) initiated HEARTS in the Americas, a comprehensive risk reduction initiative set to become the institutionalized model for hypertension management in primary health care by 2025. It is a multinational initiative, led by the Ministries of Health from each participating country, and with the participation of local stakeholders and the technical cooperation of PAHO. Key outcomes include improvements in detection, treatment, and control of hypertension in each population served . Currently, the initiative is being implemented and expanded in 915 primary health care facilities located in 20 countries (https://www.paho.org/en/hearts-americas). [...]
Article originally published in English in the Journal of Human Hypertension.