Call for better patient awareness and doctor education in dealing with high blood pressure
On the eve of its annual conference, leading doctors from the European Society of Hypertension have called for patient awareness and better clinician education to ensure more individualised treatment of high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is the most important preventable risk factor for premature death worldwide. The World Health Organisation ranks hypertension above even tobacco use as a risk factor for preventable death, estimating that 25% of the world’s adult population – around 1.25 billion people – will suffer from hypertension by 2025, causing nearly 13% of all global deaths. In the UK, around 16 million adults suffer from hypertension, leading to more than UK 62,000 deaths per year.
Now clinicians are calling for attitudes to blood pressure to change to ensure that the 200 million Europeans suffering from hypertension receive appropriate treatment.
The Vice-President of the European Society of Hypertension, Professor Anna Dominiczak, Head of College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow said:
“The European Society of Hypertension leads in the field of high blood pressure and cardiovascular prevention. We are committed to spreading excellence in clinical practice, research and education to reduce high blood pressure - induced heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure in Europe and world- wide.”
Professor Josep Redon (Valencia), President of the European Society of Hypertension added:
“The scale of the problem of hypertension is huge, and as the WHO and others acknowledge, diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure are amongst the biggest health problems facing the world today. We need to improve doctor education and patient awareness, to ensure that the problem is addressed, and addressed properly.”
“Quite simply, all adults need to be more aware of the possibility that they may have high blood pressure. The problem increases as you get older, so that by the time you are in your 60’s you are odds-on to have hypertension. Many people are just not aware that they have high blood pressure, so my message is, make sure you get yourself checked regularly.”
“Doctors also need to be more aware that controlling hypertension needs more than a “one-size fits all” approach. For example, evidence is emerging that the ideal target blood pressure values may differ if the hypertension is accompanied by other medical conditions. Yes you need to control your blood pressure, but as conditions like diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, and so on become more common, doctors need to take account of exactly which target blood pressure is right for each patient. So blood pressure treatment, like so much in medicine, needs to be aimed at people as individuals”
The 22nd European Meeting on Hypertension and Cardiovascular Protection takes place in London from 26-29th April. See http://www.esh2012.org/ for more information. For more information on the European Society of Hypertension, please see: http://www.eshonline.org/Default.aspx
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First published: 25 April 2012