30% of PHL deaths due to heart, vascular disease; 25.7% of Pinoys hypertensiveThursday, August 16, 2012 05:04 AM Views : 443CARMELA LAPEŅA
In the Philippines, about 30 percent of all the deaths are caused by heart and vascular disease, according to Philippine Society of Hypertension President Dr. Dante Morales.
Citing the National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHeS II) conducted in 2008, Morales said one in every four Filipino adult (25.7 percent) has hypertension, which he explained as "a blood pressure reading equal to or higher than 140/90 millimeter mercury (mmHg)."
"Hypertension is really up there. It's one of the bigger problems in the Philippines," he said. In 2008, 41,000 deaths were due to hypertension or hypertensive complications.
"That's really a main cause of death, number two only to smoking in the country," he explained during Invida Philippines' Wednesday press launch of Nebivolol, a highly cardioselective beta blocker that effectively treats hypertension and congestive heart failure (CHF).
Hypertension increases the risk for stroke, heart failure, and renal failure, Morales said. "The higher the blood pressure, the greater the problem, and the more complications can happen," he said at the launch.
According to Morales, controlling blood pressure is imperative in reducing cardiovascular risks. He said several benefits can be derived out of controlling blood pressure, including lowering the risk of a stroke by 30-35 percent, and heart failure by more than 50 percent.
The first treatment for hypertension is still lifestyle modification, Morales said. "Very easy to say, but very hard to do...There are three things: no smoking, physical activity, and good nutrition. If you only follow that, you will not have the problems that happen later on. Obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes - all of those stem from those. By the time you reach those, it's a little late," he said.
If, despite lifestyle modification, the problem of high blood pressure is still there, Morales said this is when medication comes in.
"We are pleased to provide Filipino patients with a proven effective treatment for both hypertension and CHF," said Dr. Maaliddin B. Biruar, Director for Medical and Scientific Affairs of Invida Philippines.
"In the Philippines, it (Nebivolol) will be part of the solution in dealing what we call the tsunami of cardiovascular disease which is hitting Asia, which has unfortunately started to adopt the unhealthy Western lifestyle," said Professor Andrew Coats of the Norwich Research Park in England.
Coats noted that the Asian population has started to gain weight over the last two decades. "The significant demographic changes of increased body weight and increased diabetes and the age of the population means there will be a lot more of these other complications of high blood pressure," said Coats.
"It's really important that there are major public health initiatives to address high blood pressure and smoking and obesity, but also to treat established disease which need drugs that work," said Coats.
Coats explained that beta blockers work by widening blood vessels and slowing the heart rate to improve blood flow and decrease blood pressure.
"CHF is a serious condition in which the heart can no longer pump enough blood to the body. One of the causes of CHF is uncontrolled hypertension. Aside from causing CHF, uncontrolled hypertension also increases a person's risk of suffering a heart attack and stroke," Dr. Romeo Divinagracia said in a press release.
Divinagracia, founder and past president of the Heart Failure Society of the Philippines, said there are only four beta blockers in the market that are approved and recommended for heart failure, including Nebivolol, which has unique properties.