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Undiagnosed hypertension major concern in UAE

Dubai, September 18, 2008

Cardiovascular diseases result in 28 per cent of all deaths in the UAE and 31 per cent of all deaths in Dubai, of which 10 per cent are related to hypertension, a report said.

The report, released by the department of health and medical services Dubai also said that of this 10 percent, approximately 38 percent of cases are Emirati and 62 percent of cases are expatriates.

Health professionals are now increasingly concerned with the number of UAE residents who are at risk of heart attack due to undiagnosed hypertension.

Ahead of World Heart Day on September 28, doctors are striving to help people better understand their personal risk for cardiovascular disease.

Besides pointing to unhealthy lifestyles, a lack of exercise, and a diet high in fat and sugar, doctors are also concerned with the number of sufferers not receiving regular check-ups from family physicians.

If uncontrolled, hypertension can eventually damage the eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, heart and the brain. In malignant hypertension, sufferers have very high, difficult-to-control blood pressure which could lead to hypertensive stroke, which can lead to paralysis.

'It is certainly the case that we are seeing a high level of hypertension cases in patients as young as the early thirties, and that we’re also seeing high levels across certain communities,' said Dr Azan Ben Drek, consultant cardiology & head of cardiology department Rashid Hospital, Department of Health.

'The problem of undiagnosed hypertension is particularly pressing, since the earlier hypertension is diagnosed, the better we are able to manage it,' added Dr Ben Drek.

The frequency of hypertension increases as people get older and is more prevalent among females in the age group 45-64 years and males in the age group 65 years and above.

Almost one billion people worldwide have hypertension and over half a billion more will have developed it by 2025, according to the World Health Organisation. It is one of the strongest risk factors for heart attacks, heart failures and strokes, which are among the most common causes of death in modern society.

The Ascot Study (Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial), recently presented at the European Society of Hypertension, revealed that the early addition of popular treatment Lipitor to patients' regime of blood pressure treatment resulted in a 36 percent reduction in the relative risk of fatal or non-fatal heart attacks over five years.

Highlighting the importance of initiating medical treatment for both blood pressure and cholesterol as soon as possible, the Ascot Study demonstrated the importance of early intensive treatment of multiple risk factors, notably blood pressure and cholesterol, in patients with moderate cardiac risk.

The Ascot study is one of the largest hypertension trials ever conducted with 19,342 patients participating. It is one of the first studies to explore the benefit of controlling more than one cardiovascular risk factor at a time.

'These important results show that early initiation of Lipitor with an effective blood pressure lowering drug regimen may have significant clinical implications for reducing the risk of heart attacks,' said Professor Peter Sever, study principal investigator, professor of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, International Centre for Circulatory Health at London's Imperial College.

'It is vital that physicians use the right combination of treatments from the start to maximise the reduction in the risk of heart attacks and coronary heart disease death,' he added.

The results of The Ascot Study were published in the European Heart Journal and are available online. - TradeArabia News Service

 




Tags: World Health Organisation | cardiovascular | World Heart Day | Rashid Hospital |

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