Research into cardiovascular disease appears to be helping reduce deaths

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We're always reading about spiralling health costs and budget blow-outs, an aging population and a junk food epidemic, just to name a few.

So it is nice to get some good news about our health. That news comes from the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine.

Their research shows a clear reduction in cardiovascular deaths and hospitalization rates for people with hypertension (high blood pressure).

“Canada really has become a world leader in the treatment and control of hypertension,” says Dr. Norm Campbell, lead author of the study.

“Canada really has become a world leader in the treatment and control of hypertension,” says Dr. Norm Campbell, lead author of the study.

Since 1952, the cardiovascular death rate in Canada has declined by more than 75 per cent – and nearly 40 per cent in the last decade – largely due to research advances in surgical procedures, drug therapies and prevention efforts according to Statistics Canada (2011)

While the exact reason for this decrease is not yet known, according to the CPHA it is likely to be a result of a combination of factors including:

  • Prevention (lower rates of smoking and physical inactivity, increased consumption of vegetables and fruit)
  • Better diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure
  • Better management of those who have cardiovascular disease

 

And while there is some concern that increased rates of obesity and diabetes (two major factors in cardiovascular disease) risk undoing some of the good work, this should not take away from the fact that this news is indeed a great public health achievement.

It also highlights the importance of medical research: investigating the prevention of cardiovascular disease, research into its detection as well as study into the best treatments.

The Heart research institute has a dedicated High Blood Pressure Group which study’s how the brain controls blood pressure. Their work covers prevention, detection and treatment.

‘There are many things that can be done for people diagnosed as having persistently elevated arterial blood pressure. Your doctor might advise you to lose weight, exercise, change your eating habits, or some combination of the above,’ says High Blood Pressure Group Leader Paul Pilowsky.

However some people may find that lifestyles changes are not enough. ‘In these circumstances there may be no other option than to commence medication aimed at reducing blood pressure’ he adds.

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