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NHLBI, PAHO Announce Hypertension Initiative

NHLBI and the World Health Organization share something other than a desire to improve the cardiovascular health of people around the world. Both organizations are celebrating their 50th anniversary in 1998.

To mark the occasion, the groups joined with the Fogarty International Center and the Pan American Health Organization to sponsor a "Conference on the Pandemic of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)" in the western hemisphere.

Standing before the NHLBI exhibit at the Pan American CVD conference are (from l) NHLBI director Dr. Claude Lenfant, FIC director Dr. Philip Schambra, and Dr. Ruth Hegyeli, NHLBI associate director for international programs.

PAHO Photo: Armando Waak

The 2-day conference, held recently at PAHO in Washington, D.C., brought together leading scientists and health professionals to develop strategies to combat the pandemic.

As part of that effort, NHLBI director Dr. Claude Lenfant and PAHO Director Sir George Alleyne announced the launch of a Pan American Hypertension Initiative (PAHI). This joint NHLBI-PAHO initiative will seek ways to promote the prevention and control of high blood pressure throughout the Americas.

Hypertension is estimated to affect about 25 percent of adults in North and South America, or about 140 million persons. Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and the chief risk factor for stroke.

As a first step, NHLBI will host a workshop this fall at NIH to plan PAHI's upcoming activities.

The recent pandemic conference covered such wide-ranging topics as the shifting global burden of disease, prevention and treatment opportunities, case studies of disease prevention, global tobacco control issues, ethnocultural issues, genetics, CVD and women, and CVD risk factors and children.


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