GREAT BAY (DCOMM):--- 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.
Sint Maarten’s calendar of health observances is to promote particular local or global health issues and encourage the population to get regular check-ups.
For the month of May, high blood pressure and stroke are the issues that have been chosen for further awareness. This is an opportunity to emphasize the need to work on the prevention and control of hypertension, in order to prevent deaths from cardiovascular diseases.
In connection with the aforementioned, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour, is calling on the populace to ‘get healthy’ by being active, check your numbers, and eat healthily.
High blood pressure is also 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 five 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, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).