Hypertension represents a major burden in Asia, with a high prevalence rate but poor level of awareness and control reported in many countries in the region. Home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) has been validated as an accurate and reliable measure of blood pressure that can help guide hypertension treatment as well as identify masked and white-coat hypertension. Despite its benefits, there has been limited research into home blood pressure monitoring in Asia.
In observance of World Hypertension Day, the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH), and Pfizer, have come together to fortify their commitment in raising awareness and promoting hypertension prevention, detection, and control among Filipinos, including measures that they could take in their own homes.
The value of HBPM
In a nationwide survey conducted in 2013, it was indicated that despite a high treatment rate of 75% among adult patients diagnosed with hypertension, adequate blood pressure control rate was low at 27%
Dr. Jorge A. Sison, PHA President, in a discussion held at the Edsa Shangri-La recently, validated that, “There are several factors that contribute to the current hypertension burden in Asia and the Philippines. This includes the current diet that most Filipinos eat – – restaurant and processed food, sugary drinks, etc; the relative physical inactivity, increasing rate of smoking, and increasing number of people who are beyond their ideal weight. This is only in addition to one’s inherent genetic disposition to develop hypertension.”
There is growing acknowledgment for the role of HBPM to evaluate and guide management of hypertension. Aside from being a simple tool for measuring blood pressure, HBPM is also recommended by guidelines to obtain reliable BP recordings because readings are taken in an environment that approximates one’s daily activities and exposures. Home systolic BP (SBP) <135 mm Hg and diastolic BP (DBP) <85 mm Hg are typically considered normal.
Sison added, “HBPM is performed in the Philippines, but not routinely, and there are no published data on the use of HBPM in the country. HBPM is currently used to investigate the status of BP control in patients with known hypertension who are taking treatment but with uncontrolled BP on follow-up. Some specialists use HBPM to make a diagnosis of hypertension in conjunction with clinic BP. Potential barriers to the use of HBPM include the cost and availability of HBPM devices, with only around 25% of the population with hypertension currently having access to such devices. Another barrier is the lack of trust among patients regarding the accuracy of their digital BP devices.”
Dr. Sison’s discussion of the Pfizer-funded research reveals that the burden of hypertension is shared by neighboring countries in Asia. And through the collaborative work of experts from these 12 countries, consensus statements have been formed which includes the recommendation to use HBPM as an additional tool to diagnose hypertension. By gaining a better understanding of a patient’s blood pressure pattern, the opportunity to appropriately manage the patient is enhanced, therefore increasing the chance of achieving BP control and reduce occurrence of complications like stroke and heart attack.
Hypertension control initiatives
Dr. Alberto A. Atilano, PSH President, said, “High blood pressure is a silent killer. It is the number one contributing risk factor for global death, causing many cardiovascular complications.” He furthers that people often don’t know they have high blood pressure because there are no symptoms. In line with PSH participation in the global initiative called May Measurement Month, which is spearheaded by the International Society of Hypertension, Dr. Atilano shared how the local society is reaching out to all Filipinos to encourage screening for hypertension.
Pfizer is committed to advancing collaborative efforts to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with a wide range of chronic diseases – not just hypertension – for people to live better, healthier lives.
According to Pfizer Medical Manager and internal medicine specialist Dr. Grace Brizuela, “Our efforts to positively impact patient outcomes would not be possible without our partnership with organizations like PHA and PSH. By collaborating on common objectives to advance public health and supporting programs that create solutions for communities and stakeholders, Pfizer strengthens its commitment to help improve the lives of the patients we serve.”
Supporting experts in research and other scientific undertakings to advance the understanding of the disease, such as the one shared by Dr. Sison on the HOPE Asia regional initiative, is just one of the many ways by which Pfizer commits to society in improving the lives of patients.
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