Brain cardiovascular diseases (DCVD) – including stroke and acute myocardial infarction – are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, especially in western countries. In Portugal, DCCV is responsible for 1/3 of all deaths (around 30,000 / year), and it is estimated that they can reduce life expectancy by 12-14 years; in addition, CVCC are the main cause of disability and are responsible for a very large number of hospital admissions.
Arterial hypertension (AHT) – blood pressure higher than or equal to 140/90 mmHg – is the main risk factor for stroke, the leading cause of death in Portugal: about 2/3 of all deaths and one of the most important risk factors for AMI (as well as for heart failure, renal failure, peripheral arterial disease, etc.). Early detection and appropriate treatment for hypertension can be shown to significantly reduce the risk of CVD incidence and therefore reduce the tragic number of disability and mortality.
Despite the significant improvement in the last 10-15 years, about 42% of adults in Portugal have HBP, but almost 1/4 are not aware of the disease and about 1/4 of hypertensive patients do not use medication, which is contributes to less than half of patients with hypertension, blood pressure is effectively controlled.
Usually hypertension does not cause symptoms (or causes non-specific symptoms that may be present with many other diseases such as headache, dizziness, fatigue, etc.). So the only way to detect HBP is to check high blood pressure values by measuring blood pressure, so regular blood pressure measurement should be a habit to follow. All adults should do this at least once a year – whether it's screenings such as World HTA Day, at the medical and / or nursing consultation, at the pharmacy or even at home (by using a suitable device).