Turning up the Volume on Hypertension Awareness & Management on World Hypertension Day: How does Your Blood Pressure Compare with the New Guidelines?

LAVAL, QC, May 17, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - One adult Canadian in five suffers from hypertension (or high blood pressure) and over 90% of Canadians will develop hypertension if they live a normal life span. Hypertension is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attack and dementia. On World Hypertension Day, Canadians are urged to get their blood pressure checked and to "know your numbers." High blood pressure has no warning signs or symptoms – which is why it is often called a 'silent killer'.

In 2015, the SPRINT study, a landmark trial funded by the National Institute of Health (US), showed that intensive blood pressure management targeting a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg rather than the old standard of 140 mm Hg significantly reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and lowered the risk of death in a group of adults aged 50 years and older with high blood pressure. Data from the SPRINT study was quickly reflected in the Hypertension Canada Guidelines. The updated 2016 Guidelines recommend a systolic blood pressure target of 120 mm Hg in high-risk patients [elderly patients over 75 years old and non-diabetic patients with cardiovascular disease and with a FRS (Framingham Risk Score) over 15%].

"The SPRINT study provides strong evidence about the benefit of intensive blood pressure lowering for people with hypertension," says Dr. Sheldon Tobe, MD, MScCH (HPTE), FRCPC, FACP, FASH Hypertension and Nephrology HSF/NOSM Chair of Aboriginal and Rural Health Research Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto and Northern Ontario School of Medicine. "The academic hypertension experts who work as volunteers with Hypertension Canada to produce the Hypertension Canada Guidelines will now be challenged to disseminate the updated guidelines and to develop implementation tools to bring this new information to Canada's health care providers and patients with hypertension." 

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attack and dementia. Hypertension occurs when the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated and the heart has to work harder than normal to pump blood through the blood vessels. Hypertension can be caused by many factors such as age, ethnicity and gender.i People living with both diabetes and hypertension are also much more likely to develop heart disease and/or experience a stroke at an earlier age.ii Other factors, such as diet, exercise and smoking can be changed through lifestyle modification to reduce risks of hypertension.1

Despite progress made on prevention and management in Canada over the last 25 years, the fight against hypertension is far from over. It is a multi-factor battle that requires monitoring blood pressure, incorporating a healthy lifestyle and ensuring clinicians have access to medications in their treatment arsenal that are effective and make it easier for patients to take their medication. "In 2015, Hypertension Canada conducted a Public Attitudes and Awareness survey which found that high blood pressure is both little understood and serious enough that the majority of Canadians would like to learn more about it from their health care professionals. Canadians also support government interventions such as sodium reduction to help them avoid and manage high blood pressure," says Angelique Berg, Executive Director, Hypertension Canada.

"Despite the impressive advances we have made in blood pressure control in Canada, we still have a long way to go.  There remain significant challenges for patients with hypertension in staying on their blood pressure lowering medications, says Dr. Ross Feldman, MD, FACP, FAHA, FRCPC Professor, Chair of Medicine, Memorial University."Further, health care providers working with their patients find it challenging to put together the multiple medication strategies required in most cases to reach the optimal blood pressure target—a challenge that has now been compounded in the wake of the SPRINT study and the recognition of the importance of even lower blood pressure targets for many of those living with hypertension. Hypertension Canada is presently working to identify the issues that matter most to the people living with hypertension and the health care providers looking after them so that we can promote the investigation of new treatments, such as single pill combination therapies, that meet their needs."

Hypertension accounts for a significant proportion of healthcare spending in Canada (10.2% of the Canadian healthcare budget) and is projected to rise even further.iii Interventions to prevent and treat hypertension may play a role in limiting this cost growth while adding value to patients."iv

"Valeant Canada is committed to cardiovascular health, and health care system sustainability," says Jacques Dessureault, President, Valeant Canada. "We are proud to offer treatments that help patients manage their hypertension and maintain a productive lifestyle. Effective hypertension management reduces the incidence of cardiovascular complications and the chronic health care system costs required to improve patient productivity."

In 2015, Valeant expanded its current product offering in hypertension from Tiazac XC to include Altace, Altace-HCT, Edarbi (azilsartan medoxomil) and Edarbyclor (azilsartan medoxomil and chlorthalidone). Edarbi and Edarbyclor were licensed from Takeda Canada to support Valeant Canada's desire to meet patient treatment needs, specifically in the field of hypertension where 1 out of 3 patients is still not reaching treatment targets with currently available medications.

About Hypertension Canada

Hypertension Canada is Canada's only national non-profit organization dedicated solely to the prevention and control of hypertension and its complications. Powered by a professional volunteer network of the leading multidisciplinary experts in hypertension, Hypertension Canada publishes Canada's clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment and control of hypertension and pursues its mission through the advancement of research, professional and public education, and advocacy for healthy environments.

About Valeant Canada

Valeant Canada is a subsidiary of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc., a multinational specialty pharmaceutical company that develops manufactures and markets a broad range of pharmaceutical products primarily in the areas of dermatology, eye health, neurology, and branded generics. More information about Valeant Canada can be found at www.valeantcanada.com.

i Heart and Stroke Foundation. www.heartandstroke.qc.ca  
ii Canadian Diabetes Association. www.diabetes.ca 
iii http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26169049
iv Ibid.


SOURCE Earnscliffe Strategy Group

For further information: Sebastien Beauchamp, Executive Director, Market Access & Government Affairs, Valeant Canada,(514) 744-6792


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