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Hypertension and heart disease kill 10,000 people a day in Europe

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Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for over 40 percent of all deaths in Europe, or about 10,000 deaths a day, according to a report by the World Health Organization. The main causes are excessive salt intake and untreated hypertension. In the European region, every third person aged 30-79 suffers from hypertension, which is the highest rate in the world.

From the latest report of the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of disability and premature death in the European region, as studied by WHO. This region includes 53 countries – mainly Europe and partly Asia. These diseases are responsible for 42.5 percent of all deaths, or about 10,000 per day.

According to the authors of the publication, men die from these diseases more than twice as often as women. There are also differences between regions. The probability of premature death (aged 30-69) due to cardiovascular diseases is almost five times higher in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia compared to Western Europe.

Cardiovascular disease. Reasons

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The most important causes of these statistics include: excessive salt consumption and untreated or poorly treated hypertension. In as many as 52 of the 53 countries in the WHO European region, the average consumption of table salt exceeds the norm recommended by the organization, i.e. a maximum of 5 grams a day (a teaspoon).

Excessive salt consumption is the main factor in the development of hypertension, which in turn is the main risk factor for deaths from heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases.

According to the report's authors, the most important source of large amounts of salt in the diet is processed food, including fast food. Therefore, regulations on limiting the salt content in processed food may have a potentially beneficial impact on human health, WHO experts said.

WHO: Cardiovascular diseases kill 10,000 people a dayShutterstock

One in three adults has high blood pressure

Another problem is the prevalence of hypertension. It affects one in three adults aged 30-79 in the WHO European region. This is the highest rate in the world.

Hypertension is called a silent killer because it often has no symptoms and, if not kept under control (in untreated or incorrectly treated people), it leads to heart attacks and strokes, which can result in death.

In the report, specialists say that hypertension is the leading risk factor for death and disability in the WHO European region. It is responsible for nearly 25 percent of deaths and 13 percent of disability cases.

How to prevent circulatory diseases

– Cardiovascular diseases and hypertension can be largely prevented and kept under control – commented Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Director for the European Region.

He noted that four million people die every year from cardiovascular diseases in the WHO European region. – These are mainly men, especially from the eastern part of our WHO region. These are the facts, but it is something we can change. We know what works, but once again we are failing to implement an evidence-based approach, resulting in unacceptably high levels of preventable deaths,” Kluge said.

In the report, WHO experts call for integrated actions to both reduce salt consumption and detect and control hypertension. According to Kluge, simply implementing a targeted policy to reduce salt intake by 25 percent could save the lives of approximately 900,000 people by 2030.

According to experts, decision-makers should introduce mandatory limits on the salt content of commonly consumed foods, including processed foods and food served in catering outlets and canteens. It is also necessary to introduce the obligation to place labels on the front of packaging, aimed at supporting consumers in making conscious and healthier choices. elections and organizing campaigns to educate the public and support behavior change to reduce salt consumption.

Although it is not in the interest of the food industry, reducing the salt content in the population through mandatory change of composition gives quick results, saves human lives and brings savings for the health care system – say the authors of the report.

It is also necessary to diagnose and treat hypertension, taking into account standard treatment protocols and providing patients with team-based care. Better access to basic medicines and medical devices for people diagnosed with hypertension is crucial, WHO experts emphasized.

Moreover, as assessed by the authors of the report, educational campaigns about hypertension and its dangerous complications can improve the level of public knowledge and increase patient compliance with medical recommendations.

Main photo source: Pormezz/Shutterstock

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