Preventing cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease continues to be a serious public health threat in Canada.
Heart disease and strokes are the leading causes of death of over one-third of
Canadians. Cardiovascular diseases cost the Canadian economy over 18 billion dollars
a year.

In Canada, eight out of every 10 people have at least one of the following
risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke; 11 per cent of Canadians
have three or more:

. High blood pressure

. Smoking

. Diabetes

. High cholesterol

. Lack of exercise

. Excess body weight

Ninety per cent of people who have high blood pressure also have at least one
other cardiovascular risk factor.

But there is good news – researchers are finding that managing multiple risk
factors may help to lower one’s chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
The Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial (ASCOT) study found that using
a blood pressure lowering treatment regimen in combination with a medicine that
lowers cholesterol, such as a statin, significantly reduced strokes and heart
attacks in patients with several cardiovascular risk factors.

"any doctors typically diagnose and treat individual cardiovascular risk
factors in isolation," said Dr. Robert Petrella, President of Blood Pressure
Canada. "Physicians should assess the whole patient rather than look at
one risk factor alone. Prevention should focus on the person in entirety."

While lowering blood pressure reduces the relative risk of major cardiovascular
complications by 21 per cent to 30 per cent, a complete pharmacologic approach
to reducing cardiovascular risk is estimated to lower risk by 80 per cent.

There is a new treatment now available in Canada that addresses the multiple
risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It represents an important therapeutic
advance because it will help physicians adopt a more comprehensive approach
while providing the safety and efficacy of two treatments in a single pill.

For more information about cardiovascular disease, please talk to your doctor.

Blood Pressure
is an inter-agency organization of professional, voluntary and government
organizations, and health agencies interested in the prevention and control
of high blood pressure in Canada.