High blood pressure main cause of Asia-Pacific stroke
19 January 2007
New research has revealed that high blood pressure causes up to 66 per cent of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, in the Asia-Pacific region.
Given that around half of the world's burden of cardiovascular disease is carried by low and middle income countries in the region, these findings, published by the Asia-Pacific Cohort Studies Collaboration (APCSC) in the Journal of Hypertension, highlight the immense impact that blood pressure-lowering strategies could have in the area.
Dr Alexandra Martiniuk, author and Senior Research Fellow at The George Institute for International Health at the University of Sydney said, "We aimed to identify the role of hypertension (high blood pressure) in cardiovascular diseases in the Asia-Pacific region and found that hypertension was the key factor in more than half of cases. This shows the potential reduction in deaths from heart disease and stroke that could have been achieved if high blood pressure were controlled in this region."
APCSC Researchers found that the fraction of deaths caused by stroke, as a result of hypertension, exceeds 60 per cent in certain countries (Indonesia and Mongolia). High levels rates were also found in New Zealand (over 30 per cent) and Australia (30 per cent). The study also identified high blood pressure causes a significant percentage of deaths from heart disease in both countries.
Researchers used recent data on hypertension from more than half a million adult participants to determine the risks for heart disease and stroke attributable to hypertension. The research was also able to attain precise estimates for women in the region, confirming that hypertension is as risky for women as men.
Hypertension is the third leading modifiable risk factor for global burden of disease after tobacco and alcohol. Priority needs in this area include population-based strategies to prevent or reduce high blood pressure, such as salt reduction strategies as well as prevention and treatment of high blood pressure in individuals.
The APCSC is the largest-ever partnership and study of cardiovascular disease in the Asian region. Project partners included many medical institutions across the Asia Pacific region.
The collaboration's primary goal is to provide direct, reliable evidence about the determinants of stroke, coronary heart disease, and other common causes of death in Asia-Pacific populations. It aims to produce region, age and gender-specific estimates of the cardiovascular disease risks associated with blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and other major risk factors.
This APCSC research project was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia and an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer Inc.
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