This is illustrated by the newly published Health Survey 2014 conducted by Statistik Austria: in Austria more than one fifth of all adults suffer from high blood pressure – a silent killer that often has few symptoms, if any. This means that people are less aware of the risk and it can lead to problems such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and dementia. According to the MedUni Vienna experts, this is not inevitable; there are effective means of combating it.
As part of the “Austrian Health Survey 2014”, Statistik Austria set out to identify what proportion of adult Austrians suffer from high blood pressure. Whereas, in the last representative survey conducted in 2006, 17.6% of men and 20.1% of women had suffered from high blood pressure within the last 12 months, these figures increased to 21% of men and 22% of women for 2014.
As to the reasons for this increase, Thomas E. Dorner of the Center for Public Health at MedUni Vienna believes: “This increase is largely due to ageing of the population, which is not bad news in itself because it is associated with increasing life expectancy. However, high blood pressure can result in a number of serious complications.”
Clear east/west divide
According to Dorner, particularly high-risk groups are the elderly, people of low socio-economic status and those with risk factors such as lack of exercise, being overweight and having unhealthy eating habits. Dorner adds: “Also, the latest data from Statistik Austria shows that there is a clear east/west divide. At 28.4%, the number of people with high blood pressure is at its highest in Burgenland, while this figure is only 16.6% for the Tyrol. Dorner believes that this big difference is due to the differences between eastern and western Austria when it comes to the risk factors for high blood pressure.
Risk factors, lifestyle and raising awareness
These risk factors are being overweight, lack of exercise and psychosocial factors, such as a person’s level of social support, for example. “All these factors have a lot to do with cultural habits and a healthy lifestyle. Both of these naturally have an impact upon one’s blood pressure. Therefore it is extremely important to do more to raise awareness amongst the Austrian population,” says Anita Rieder, Vice Rector of MedUni Vienna and Head of the Center for Public Health at MedUni Vienna.
“High Blood Pressure” self-help guide provides further help
Anyone who suffers from high blood pressure, wants to prevent it or merely wants to know more about it will find numerous tips and a lot of practical advice in the newly published “High Blood Pressure” guide written by Anita Rieder and Thomas E. Dorner of the Center for Public Health at MedUni Vienna. In particular, the guide is designed to help all sufferers to be clear about the many everyday rules for dealing with high blood pressure – e.g. changes in lifestyle, taking medication, regular visits to the doctor.
In order to reduce one’s personal risk of high blood pressure, the two authors recommend paying attention to the following points:
• consuming less salt in food
• taking sufficient exercise
• avoiding or positively managing stress
• achieving a normal weight
• only consuming alcohol in moderation, if at all
• not smoking
• eating a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and grains with the emphasis on low-fat dairy produce, lean meat, poultry and fish plus nuts and seeds.
Service: Bluthochdruck [High Blood Pressure], Anita Rieder & Thomas E. Dorner, Medical University of Vienna, Manz Verlag, ISBN 978-3-214-00985-4, 168 pages, €21.90.
The “High Blood Pressure” guide is the second book in the series “Gesundheit.Wissen” (Health.Sciences) jointly produced by MedUni Vienna and Manz Verlag, which is predominantly aimed at the layman and sufferers and provides the latest scientific information in an easy-to-understand form. The first book appeared in April 2015 and deals with the subject of “Allergie und Pollen”, (Allergies and Pollen) Uwe E. Berger & Katharina Bastl, Medical University of Vienna, Manz-Verlag, ISBN 978-3-214-00983-0, 176 pages, € 21.90. Both books are available in bookshops or can be ordered online via the Manz Verlag website at www.manz.at and will be delivered carriage free. Further subjects planned for 2016 include “Diabetes”, “Men’s Health” and “Vaccination”.