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Education Eases Hypertension

A yuan of protection is worth a dollar of cure.

That is, at least where heart diseases are concerned, according to a study of 60,000 urban dwellers conducted during the Ninth Five-Year Plan period (1996-2000).

The study showed that when 1 yuan (US$0.12) was spent on the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure, it saves the medical community an estimated 8.6 yuan - or slightly more than US$1 - in not treating future illnesses.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease, kidney failure and strokes. More than 100 million Chinese suffer from symptoms of hypertension.

The research program showed the incidence of high blood pressure can be cut if people receive health education, improve their lifestyles and are treated with medicine.

The study, starting in 1996, was undertaken by the former Beijing Medical University, which is now the medicine school of Peking University.

Beijing Novartis Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. invested 4 million yuan (US$480,000) and the Swiss-based Novartis provided 20 million yuan (US$2.4 million) worth of Lotensin, an anti-hypertension medicine developed by the company.

A total of 120,000 people over age 35 were chosen from the Nanshi District in Shanghai and the Fangshan District in Beijing for the study.

Those districts have high incidences of high blood pressure and heart vascular disease.

The 120,000 people in each district was divided equally into two groups. The first received preventative measures, education and treatments while the other did not. Those who were at high risk for developing high blood pressure in the first group were asked to take prevention measures, including reducing their salt intake and exercising more.

When the study ended, only 22.5 percent of the first group in Nanshi District still had high blood pressure, down from 35.1 percent. The incidence rate of high blood pressure in the high-risk population within the sample also experienced an obvious drop during the program. In Nanshi District, the incidence rate was 3.3 percent among the first group but 14.7 percent among the second.

In villages in Fangshan District where the study was fully implemented, no high-risk person developed high blood pressure.

(China Daily 04/03/2001)

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China Sees 3 Million More Hypertension Patients A Year



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