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Government’s hypertension guidelines now in place

High blood pressure is a major health problem in Bermuda. Back in 2006, a staggering 25 percent of the adult population reported they had the condition. And it’s believed the figures now are even greater.

But Government has taken action. This month a comprehensive set of guidelines on high blood pressure was distributed to healthcare practitioners.

The guidelines were created by a task group appointed last year, by then Health Minister Walter Roban.

“The goal of the guidelines is to set a ‘gold standard’ for Bermuda to ensure the highest standard of hypertension care and improve the capacity to screen, refer, manage and monitor services for people with hypertension and people who are at risk to developing hypertension and to reduce complications of the disease such as chronic kidney disease, heart disease and stroke,” said a Health Ministry spokesperson.

In 2008 the national health promotion strategy Well Bermuda, cited improving heart health as a primary health goal for the Country.

It detailed the improve heart health objectives as follows:

1. Reduce the proportion of adults with high blood pressure

2. Reduce the proportion of adults with high total blood cholesterol levels

3. Increase the proportion of adults with high blood pressure whose blood pressure is under control

4. Increase the proportion of adults who have had their blood pressure measured within the preceding year

5. Increase the proportion of adults who are aware of the early warning symptoms and signs of a stroke.

Creation and release of the guidelines on hypertension brings Bermuda closer to being able to achieve the improve heart health objectives.

Cathryn Siddle was a member of the task group and said the guidelines will help develop a consensus among physicians on how to treat and manage the condition.

She explained that while doctors were not confused about how to treat high blood pressure, their methods did differ.

“Different doctors have trained in different places and different places have slightly different guidelines,” she said.

As a result, if you had high blood pressure the medication you were prescribed may have differed from one doctor to the next.

The release of the guidelines puts an end to such occurrences. It brings uniformity to diagnosis, treatment and screening for the condition among all local healthcare providers.

It also brings greater clarity to patients who themselves can look to the guidelines to better understand many aspects of their condition and care.

“The guidelines will raise patient awareness of the importance of hypertension,” said Dr Siddle.

Over the next several weeks the Ministry of Health will run a public awareness campaign to encourage people to check their blood pressure regularly.

Body & Soul, in our bid to foster better health for Bermuda’s people, is a part of this effort and will be running weekly articles on blood pressure until the end of the year.

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Published September 20, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 20, 2011 at 9:48 am)

Government’s hypertension guidelines now in place

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