Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and its impact on arterial hypertension (HTA) are associated with increased hospital admissions, decreased hope and quality of life. In this regard, read the opinion piece by Fernando Pinto, Senior Graduate Assistant in Cardiology at Centro Hospitalar de Entre o Douro e Vouga (CHEDV) and member of the Scientific Committee of the Portuguese Society of Stroke.
Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death, premature death (ie before age 70) and disability worldwide. Cerebrovascular accident (CVA) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) account for approximately 85% of all cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases cause more than 32,000 deaths annually in our country, and they are estimated to reduce life expectancy by 12-14 years. In addition, DCCV results in a large number of hospitalizations and is one of the most important causes of disability and dependence on others for basic daily activities (eating, dressing, personal hygiene, etc.).
Arterial hypertension (HTA), defined as blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg, is by far the main risk factor for stroke (leading cause of death in Portugal: approximately 2/3 of stroke deaths). ) and is one of the most important risk factors for AMI, heart failure, renal failure, peripheral arterial disease, dementia, etc.
In the vast majority of patients, hypertension does not cause specific symptoms for many years, and is often only detected when the above diseases occur, and it is fully demonstrated that early diagnosis of hypertension and correct and timely treatment can significantly reduce the risk. The severity of cardiovascular disease) and its dire consequences: disability and mortality.
Despite the fact that, especially over the past two decades, we have seen a very favorable development of cardiovascular disease in Portugal, we continue to confirm that approximately 42% of adults suffer from hypertension, of which nearly 25% (one in four). ) did not know that about 25% of people with high blood pressure were not taking medication, which means that less than half of people with high blood pressure have their blood pressure under control, and only about 12% (one in eight) have ideal blood pressure.
In order to achieve the ultimate goal of increasing life years and quality of life, which is to prevent the consequences of cardiovascular disease, and in particular to reduce stroke and its severe sequelae, it is critical to better diagnose hypertension and initiate rapid treatment of the conditions that lead to its treatment. Measures to adopt a healthy lifestyle from the start include reducing salt and alcohol intake, increasing vegetables and fruits, regular physical activity, correcting any overweight or obesity and cessation of total smoking. When these measures are insufficient, antihypertensive drugs may also be required.
In many cases, the past 2 years have made it harder for people to access healthcare that is so focused on destroying our pandemic (and still is…). All of us – users/patients, health professionals, not just – contribute to recovery/minimization of this delay, which can have serious consequences in the medium term: the former regularly measure blood pressure (which can be place, or even at home), and in the case of high blood pressure, seek medical care as soon as possible, but begin correcting inappropriate lifestyles immediately; health professionals actively encourage patients to monitor their blood pressure to make it easier for them to access their care, And without unnecessarily delaying the correction of hypertension (and any accompanying risk factors).
The scientific community must work with the media to remind the general public of the importance of these measures, and it is up to the political power and the state to develop and implement specific measures to accelerate this mission, which is possible with a commitment in short!