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    Half of Belgians with hypertension do not know it

    Hypertension affects more than 2.5 million adults in Belgium but remains undiagnosed for almost half of the patients with it. “And yet it is the third cause of mortality in the world,” indicate several associations, of which the Belgian Cardiologic League. A vast awareness campaign is launched Thursday, on the occasion of the world day dedicated to this pathology.

    Being asymptomatic, hypertension is a major public health problem. It is the main risk factor for heart disease and cerebrovascular accident.

    “The only way to determine if one’s arterial pressure is too high is to control it,’’ insist the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), the Belgian Cardiologic League, the Belgian Pharmaceutical Association and Servier, the French pharmaceutical group which initiated the awareness campaign.

    While the frequency of hypertension increases with age, it is also related to psycho-professional constraints, such as work stress, sedentariness, or even a diet that is too rich in salt and fat.

    Complications, however, can be avoided by “early detection of hypertension, followed by medical treatment,” ensures Dr. Jean-Marie Krzesinski, of Liege CHU.

    Aiming at raising general public interest, a campaign is launched this Thursday 17 May, with Jonathan Kubben Quinonez as ambassador. This young man from Brussels, who traveled around the world, regularly posting on Instagram photos of himself carrying a sign on which you could read “Mom, I’m fine,” encourages the public to turn his message around into “Mom/Dad, are you fine?”

    The goal is for young adults to encourage their parents and relatives to have their arterial pressure controlled.

    The campaign will be presented on the social networks, as well as being made available in poster form or brochures in medical cabinets and pharmacies.

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times