Kuala Lumpur: High blood pressure
affects over one billion people globally and the number is
expected to rise to 1.56 billion people by 2025.
It is a condition that often does not display signs or
symptoms, hence it is commonly referred to as a `silent
killer`. For this reason, many people are not aware that they
have this condition until they visit a doctor.
Hypertension, or elevated blood pressure, indicates
that the heart is working harder than normal, putting both the
heart and the arteries under a greater strain.
The Malaysian Society of Hypertension classifies
hypertension as a condition where the systolic pressure is
greater than 140 mmHg or the diastolic pressure greater than
90 mmHg. Typically, three separate abnormally high readings
over a few weeks is necessary to diagnosis this condition.
High blood pressure contributes to heart attacks,
strokes, renal failure and atherosclerosis. If the condition
is left untreated or unmanaged, the heart may have to work
harder to pump enough blood and oxygen to the body`s organs
and tissues to meet their needs.
In Malaysia, four out of 10 adults suffer from high blood pressure with only 26 per cent of the affected people having their blood pressure under control.
The direct and indirect costs of treating high blood
pressure were estimated at USD 849.68 and USD 2,347.18 respectively per patient in 2009.
In addition, up to 85 per cent of patients may need
multiple medications to help control their blood pressure,
underscoring the need for more effective combination
treatments. It is clearly a major public health problem.