Deputy Minister for Research and Technology Ministry of Health and Medical Education expressed concern that this level of ignorance can make Iran face the crisis of early death of half of the Iranians.
According to the Digestive Diseases Research Institute of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, national level studies which have been conducted in Iran, have confirmed this warning.
The results of the study "prevalence, awareness and risk factors of hypertension" which was conducted on 50,000 men and women aged between 40 and 75 years old who participated in Golestan cohort study, showed that 21,350 (42%) of the participants had hypertension, but only 46% of them were aware of their disease, so more than half of them were unaware of this high risk disease!
In addition, in another national study, the awareness of hypertension patients was estimated 34%. Also, the findings of another study in Tehran province showed that only 50% of the patients were aware of their disease.
Distinguished professor of Tehran University of Medical Sciences named two important causes of this dangerous unawareness. He stated that insufficient attention of the medical society, and not taking hypertension seriously by people are the most important causes of this unawareness. By addressing these two factors, we could witness a 25% decrease in deaths due to heart attacks and strokes in Iran!
A high degree of mortality and disability due to the high blood pressure has been confirmed in many of the national studies. According to Dr Reza Malekzadeh, Founder and principle investigator of Golestan Cohort study (the largest cohort study in Middle East and North Africa in Iran), the results of this study including 50,000 participants showed that 50% of the deaths were due to cardiovascular events, and among those, 33% of the cardiovascular deaths were caused by high blood pressure!
The other unfortunate fact that the deputy of research of the Ministry of Health pointed out was the annual death of 33000 under 55 years old Iranians due to heart attacks and strokes mostly because of hypertension.
Dr Malekzadeh said: "To these regrettable statistics, we should add the Iranians' lost years of life due to disabilities caused by hypertension, which has reached 2 million years now, with a 62% increase compared to 25 years ago, which is a significant number!"
He said that through two simple and practical steps, we can save people from the crisis of "increasing rate of hypertension in Iran": all patients, for any reason they come to be visited, should ask their doctor to check their blood pressure, and mutually all physicians should commit themselves to check their patients' blood pressures regardless of the cause of the visit, to control this risk factor for lethal diseases to a large extent in our country.
Director of the Digestive Diseases Research Institute (DDRI) of Tehran University of Medical Sciences believes that physicians play a pivotal role in preventing early deaths in Iranians. Also, he reminded that all physicians in any field of specialty are general practitioners first, so it is recommended to set up a system in the physicians' offices to check the blood pressure of all adult patients, with no exception, who come for a visit, because controlling the hypertension as a disease which could shorten the age is more important than any other diseases. A nurse or even the secretary in physician's office can check the blood pressure. Such a simple measure can have important results for health system in preventing early deaths which have endangered half of the Iran's population. In addition to physicians' efforts, people should also consider the blood pressure checking in doctors' offices an essential matter, and should ask for it in every visit.
The deputy of research of the Ministry of Health emphasized that everybody over 35 years old should check their blood pressure. Checking blood pressure should be done essentially every month or at least every 2-3 months, and meanwhile, those suspected of having high blood pressure should visit a physician as soon as possible to be treated.
Distinguished professor of Tehran University of Medical Sciences described hypertension as a silent and asymptomatic disease, and therefore, dangerous and sometimes fatal. Also he mentioned fatigue, malaise and headache as common and important symptoms of hypertension.
Dr Malekzadeh noted that the new definition of hypertension in global guidelines has considered important goals for primary and secondary prevention of high blood pressure including early deaths and disabilities. It is essential for physicians to control hypertension by using the standards of this new definition which also needs people's companionship.