A new study indicates that half of the Canadian public require medical attention due to high blood pressure (hypertension), however most of them are unaware of their condition or unwilling to address and manage their hypertension. The study published in the American Journal of Hypertension draws attention to the "silent" nature of hypertension and suggests why the gravity and severity of hypertension is often misunderstood.
High blood pressure puts extra strain on people's hearts and blood vessels. Over time, the extra strain increases the risk of serious heart problems, including heart attacks and strokes.
In order to detect a general awareness of hypertension, researchers set up mobile clinics at shopping malls, workplaces, hospitals, and community centres in a Northern American city. The clinics measured 1,097 volunteers' blood pressure. The researchers reported these key findings:
• 50 percent of participants had high blood pressure.
• A large number of participants (two percent) showed hypertensive results that are of a high health risk.
• Most of these people were not adherent to medications (if their hypertension was detected previously), were unaware of their hypertensive state, and were unwilling to acknowledge the severity of their high blood pressure readings.
"What is particularly significant about this study is that a surprisingly large number of participants exhibited some type of hypertensive urgency or emergency," says Dr. Grant Pierce, Executive Director of Research at St. Boniface Hospital in Canada. "Many of the participants were either unaware of their condition or simply not adherent to their medications."
Dr. Pierce and colleagues concluded that the reasons for resistance or lack of adherence to medications included ignorance of health consequences of hypertension and being unaware of how to manage hypertension properly.
Interestingly, their findings show that a mobile hypertension clinic provides a valuable platform for identifying hypertension in the general public, as well as insight into the management of this condition.
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