Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death, premature death (i.e. before age 70), and disability worldwide. Vascular injury (CVA) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) constitute approximately 85% of all CVD.
In our country, CVDs are responsible for more than 32,000 deaths each year and it is estimated that they can reduce life expectancy by 12-14 years. In addition, DCCVs are responsible for a large number of hospital admissions and are one of the most important causes of disability and dependence on others for basic daily activities (food, clothing, personal hygiene, etc.).
High blood pressure (HBP), defined as blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg, is by far the leading risk factor for stroke (the leading cause of death in Portugal: approximately 2/3 of all deaths due to CVD) and is one of the most important risk factors for AMI, heart failure, kidney failure, peripheral artery disease, dementia, etc.
In the vast majority of patients, hypertension does not cause specific symptoms for several years, often being discovered only when the diseases mentioned above appear and it is well demonstrated that early diagnosis with correct and timely treatment of hypertension without unequivocally reduces the risk. . severity) of CVD and its dire consequences: disability and mortality.
Despite the fact that, particularly in the last two decades, we have seen a very favorable evolution of CVD in Portugal, we continue to verify that about 42% of adults have high blood pressure, of which almost 25% (1 in 4) are not aware of the disease and also diagnosed about 25% are not taking medication, which explains that less than half of patients with high blood pressure actually have their blood pressure controlled and only about 12% (1 in 8) have their blood pressure at ideal value.
What remains to be done?
In order to achieve the ultimate goal of increasing the number of years of life and quality of life, that is, to prevent the consequences of CVD and especially reduce its stroke and its dramatic consequences, it is important to diagnose hypertension more and better and so start rapid treatment measures leading to its treatment, start with the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, including reducing salt and alcohol consumption and increasing vegetables and fruits, the practice of regular physical exercise, the correction of any excess weight or total obesity and smoking. suspension. When these measures are insufficient, antihypertensive drugs may also need to be used.
The last 2 years have, in many cases, made it more difficult for the population to access health care that is highly focused on our devastating pandemic (and still is …). It is up to all of us – users / patients, health professionals and beyond – to contribute to the recovery / minimization of this delay, which could have serious consequences in the medium term: the former measures blood pressure regularly (which can be done in many places, even at home) and, in the event of hypertension, seeking resort to health care as soon as possible, but immediately begin to correct inappropriate lifestyle; health professionals are actively encouraging patients to control their blood pressure, making it easier for them to access their care and not unnecessarily delay the correction of high blood pressure (and as well as any concomitant risk factors). Scientific societies, in partnership with the media, must alert the general population to the importance of such measures, and it is up to the political and state powers to draw up and implement concrete measures to accelerate this mission, which is possible with commitment. at all!
The texts in this section reflect the personal views of the authors. They do not represent ACTIVA or reflect its editorial position.