High Blood Pressure Can Be Controlled

Armen Hareyan's picture
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High Blood Pressure

"After a career in the NHL, I know about the importance of going for the goal, and having just turned 40 years old, I know that staying healthy long-term, means eating well, staying active, and visiting my doctor at least once a year to get my blood pressure checked and discuss my own personal blood pressure goal," says Mr. Richer. "As with any goal, if you know what you want to achieve, I think you are more likely to succeed."

According to the recent international Close the Gap survey, which compared physicians' perceptions against the current reality of how high blood pressure is being managed, Canadian physicians (85 per cent) believed that knowing your personal blood pressure levels and your goals, would help patients with high blood pressure achieve their target goals. Why aren't we getting to goal? Importantly, the majority of physicians (91 per cent) also believed that fewer than half of patients achieve blood pressure control because they are not compliant with their prescribed treatment.

Examining physician views on available treatment options, the survey revealed that physicians believe a combination of anti-hypertensive medications(used to treat high blood pressure) would get more of their patients to goal, with the majority (81 per cent) indicating they would give patients combination therapy if they were not reaching goal on a single (monotherapy) medication. In fact, if diagnosed, physicians stated that they would treat their own hypertension the same way.

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Alarming gaps - Canadians with hypertension not at goal and at risk

An alarming gap does exist however, between how well physicians believe they are doing in managing their patients' hypertension versus reality. According to the survey, Canadian physicians are aware of the recommended blood pressure goal for hypertension patients, and the vast majority (91 per cent) know that treating patients to their blood pressure goal significantly reduces their risk of cardiovascular disease. Yet more than one-third (37 per cent) of physicians said they would be satisfied to reduce patients' blood pressure to an "acceptable level" only, rather than fully to the recommended goal.

In addition, physicians overestimated the proportion of their patients reaching blood pressure goal. More than half believed that the majority (70 per cent) of their hypertension patients are at their blood pressure goal, when data shows that in North America and Europe less than half (30-50 per cent) of hypertension patients are actually at goal.

"The Close the Gap survey tells physicians that we currently perceive ourselves to be doing a much better job at helping our patients achieve blood pressure goals than we truly are," says Dr. Sheldon Tobe, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. "This awareness should encourage physicians, and patients, to act now."

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