World Hypertension Day-tackling hypertension in resource-limited areas in China

The World Hypertension League initiated the World Hypertension Day (WHD) in 2005 to raise public awareness about hypertension throughout the world. May 17th of every year is celebrated as the WHD by the WHL and all its member country leagues in most parts of the world. This year, the WHL is launching the WHD 2014 with a theme Know your Blood Pressure.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, kidney disease etc accounts for 85% of all deaths in China. Hypertension is the leading risk factor for NCD burden around the world - heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes. Approximately 4 in 10 adults have raised blood pressure which often goes undiagnosed.

Previous studies have shown that hypertension burden in China is serious, with over 300 million patients while the awareness is less than half. Researches revealed that health care in resource-limited area such as rural Tibet is even worse.

Dr Maoyi Tian, Research Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health at Peking University Health Science Center, said at the 2014 World Congress of Cardiology that the prevalence of hypertension is as high as 56% in herdsmen population in Tibet Autonomous Region, China. “However, only 19.9% of the herdsmen are aware of their conditions. The rates of receiving treatment and under control found in this population are also very low,” said Dr TIAN.

“Our study team developed, pilot-tested and evaluated the feasibility of a simplified, but guideline-based cardiovascular disease management program in Lingzhi county and Gongbujiangda county in Tibet autonomous region where the health resource is quite constrained. Cardiovascular disease high-risk patients were identified by screening the eligible villagers. The village doctors were trained to use the Electronic Decision Support System, which helped the village doctors better manage those high-risk patients by providing lifestyle recommendations and prescribing appropriate medications.”

The study results showed the multifaceted intervention program delivered by the primary care providers had the potential to improve patients’ clinical outcomes and behavior change. “This simplified evidence-based interventions based on the high-risk approach will have the potential to reduce cardiovascular disease burdens and improve the health among high-risk patients in resource-poor settings,” said Dr TIAN.

The George Institute has a comprehensive program of blood pressure, salt reduction and behaviors research in China, and is committed to improve the health of millions of people worldwide.