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Hypertension alert.

Byline: REBECCA TORR

MORE than a quarter of people in Bahrain and the Gulf suffer from hypertension and the number is rising fast. One-third of the world's population will suffer from the condition by 2030, experts said yesterday.

The figures were released at the First Regional Hypertension Conference, which opened yesterday and concludes today at Gulf Hotel.

Bahrain Specialist Hospital (BSH) nephrology and hypertension consultant and conference organising committee chairman Dr Jafar Al Said said hypertension was more common than coronary heart disease and diabetes.

He said by 2030 1.5 billion people around the world would have hypertension, compared with 366 million with diabetes.

"Twenty-six per cent of people in Bahrain have hypertension and the number is growing," Dr Al Said told the GDN on the sidelines of the event.

"It is expected to hit 30pc in the coming 15 to 20 years and this is the same globally.

"It has been found that 90pc of males and 80pc of females at some time in their life will be affected by hypertension.

"The causes are still largely unknown, but we do know that a change in lifestyle helps, so we recommend more exercise, less salt, stop smoking and drinking alcohol and reduce weight."

Dr Al Said said the conference was held under the theme Standing Together Against Hypertension because a joint approach among health practitioners was the only way to help combat the condition.

He said there needed to be continuous education in the field of hypertension to help physicians keep up to date with the latest developments and innovations.

Dr Al Said said doctors should strive continuously to develop their medical knowledge and professional performance, in order to provide better health care to patients and the community.

More than 130 medical professionals and researchers from the region and countries across the world are attending the two-day scientific conference.

The event is organised by the BSH and held under the patronage of Health Minister Dr Faisal Al Hamer.

It was opened by Health Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Aziz Hamza.

Speakers from Bahrain, the Gulf, Lebanon and the UK are discussing hypertension treatment and diagnosis methods, the latest technologies and professional practices associated with the condition.

Topics include hypertension in chronic kidney disease populations, heart failure and hypertension, hypertension in pregnancy; in children; in elderly patients, stroke and hypertension and other areas of concern.

Salmaniya Medical Complex (SMC) consultant nephrologist Dr Sumaya Al Ghareeb said diabetes and hypertension were the two leading causes of kidney disease.

"We have 265 dialysis patients at the SMC and their condition has mainly been caused or at least complicated by diabetes or hypertension," she said.

Dr Al Ghareeb said an awareness campaign highlighting the causes of kidney disease would be launched across Bahrain from today.

Activities will include checking people for hypertension and diabetes and handing out leaflets.

The campaign will culminate with an awareness event at Seef Mall on March 12 to coincide with World Kidney Day.

becky@gdn.com.bh

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Feb 22, 2009
Words:510
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