Ignorance a leading cause of hypertension in Canada

Hypertension may be a silent killer, but in Canada it appears efforts to prevent the disease is falling on deaf ears.

A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that 50 percent of the Canadian public is unaware that they suffer from high blood pressure. Furthermore, most are unwilling to address or manage their high blood pressure.

The study focused on why the severity of hypertension is often misunderstood and how to develop methods to better educate the public as to its risks.

Researchers set up mobile clinics at shopping malls, workplaces, hospitals and community centers to measure individuals' blood pressure. Approximately 1,100 patients were included in the study.

They found that 50 percent of the group had high blood pressure. A high health risk was observed in 2 percent of patients. Most of these people were not on medical treatment, were unaware of their hypertensive state and were unwilling to acknowledge the severity of their high blood pressure readings.

Resistance was driven by an ignorance of the health consequences of hypertension and not knowing how to manage the disease properly.

"What is particularly significant about this study is that a surprisingly large number of participants exhibited some type of hypertensive urgency or emergency," said Grant Pierce, executive director of research at St. Boniface Hospital in Canada, "Many of the participants were either unaware of their condition or simply not adherent to their medications. Based on these findings, we determined that a mobile hypertension clinic provides a valuable platform for identifying hypertension in the general public, as well as insight into the management of this condition."