Over 10 million people affected by hypertension in Poland

WHO

Polish officials speak to journalists on the occasion of World Health Day

Hypertension affects more than 10 million people in Poland. Due to the growing epidemic of obesity and an ageing population, this number will increase to 15 million in 2035, according to Dr Krzysztof Chlebus, Undersecretary of State in the Polish Ministry of Health.

Dr Chlebus highlighted the challenge of hypertension in his opening speech at a press conference held on 5 April 2013 to mark World Health Day. The Ministry of Health, the Polish Hypertension Association and the WHO Country Office jointly organized the press conference to focus on high blood pressure, which is the theme of World Health Day this year.

High blood pressure is a serious but often preventable medical condition. Diseases of the circulatory system account for nearly 50% of all deaths in the WHO European Region and one third of world’s population.

“Insidious disease”

Professor Krzysztof Narkiewicz, National Consultant for Hypertension, reminded that hypertension is a very insidious disease. “In most cases, the patient does not feel any discomfort associated with increased pressure value. Around 3 million Poles are not aware of their illness, and those who know about it, very often ignore going to a doctor,” he said.

Professor Narkiewicz added that in 2002, the effectiveness of treatment of hypertension in Poland was only 12-14%, but the recent NATPOL 2011 study indicates that improvement in efficacy is bringing Poland closer to the European Union average.

Professor Danuta Czarnecka, President of the Polish Hypertension Association, said there is still need for significant improvement as the rate remains alarmingly low. “We have to constantly promote the importance of routine blood pressure measurement as a simple but the most effective measure to diagnose and monitor this disease,” he added.

Dr Paulina Miskiewicz, Head of the WHO Country Office in Poland, presented Health 2020, the new European policy for health and well-being, which has identified raised blood pressure as a major contributor to cardiovascular diseases. She also presented the priority interventions for the country under the Action plan for implementation of the European Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases 2012–2016.