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Latin America must cut blood pressure to thrive
Date:6/25/2009

nsion and chronic diseases, coupled with expected increases in population growth, then, present a mounting threat to Latin American economies.

"These dismal observations warrant a call to action for improved control of high BP and other cardiovascular risk factors across Latin America," says Alcocer. "Achieving these ambitious goals will require collaborative efforts by many groups, including policymakers, international organizations, healthcare providers, schools and society as a whole."

The report provides a comprehensive overview of the burden of high blood pressure across Latin America, but "it alone cannot bring about change," say the authors. Accepting and instituting core policy changes are key to galvanize action, and results.

In terms of core policy, regional policy makers must be alerted to the benefits of high blood pressure detection and control and make this a major public health priority. Leaders must provide resources to empower and train health professionals to detect, diagnose, treat and control high blood pressure, and these must include effective drugs and interventions. It is vital to launch high blood pressure detection and management campaigns. Education and awareness promotion is another critical step, and must include healthy lifestyle advice, and explain the links to risk factors such as smoking and obesity.

In treatment terms, policy makers must encourage therapeutic drug use based on clinical- and cost-effectiveness, acceptability, and affordability for Latin American countries. Healthcare professionals must manage high blood pressure in the context of other cardiovascular risk factors, and work to ensure treatment compliance and adherence.

Government officials and others bearing the cost must be sold the benefits of campaigns to prevent, identify and treat hypertension. The authors also recommend more research, specifically studies that include Latin American patients in large, long-term, clini
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Contact: Mithu Mukherjee
mithu.mukherjee@sagepub.co.uk
44-207-324-2223
SAGE Publications UK
Source:Eurekalert

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