Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine academic staff member and Marmara University Faculty of Medicine, Vice Dean of Cardiology Department Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Altuğ Çinçin wrote an article titled “Two enemies of our health; hypertension and obesity. " on the occasion of 17 May World Hypertension Day and 21 May Obesity Day. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ahmet Altuğ Çinçin’s article reads as follows:
“Hypertension and obesity are both public health problems on their own and a risk factor for many diseases. Regardless of the reason, these diseases, which are easily detected and against which we have many weapons to control, are still ignored in the society and cause various complications. In order to increase awareness towards these enemies in our country and in the world, 17th of each May is called the World Hypertension Day and 21st is called the Obesity Day.
It is accepted that there are approximately 1.5 billion hypertension patients and 650 million obese patients all over the world. Although hypertension alone is estimated to cause 9.4 million deaths each year, causing stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and diabetes, it is much more difficult to make this calculation for obesity. Recent studies have shown that diseases that significantly affect the cardiovascular system such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension have common formation mechanisms at the cellular level. While the diagnosis can be made and measures can be taken during the routine examination, which is the basis of preventive medicine, by blood pressure measurement, height and weight measurement, it is still not rational to ignore it.
Many people suffering from hypertension are not even aware that they are sick because they do not have complaints. Unfortunately, most of the time, people find out about this painful truth after suffering a heart attack or a stroke. When the threshold value of 140/90 mmHg is taken, 31.2% of the adult population in our country has hypertension. Unfortunately, this rate increases with the advancing age. When considered alone as a risk factor, hypertension ranks first in terms of risk factors leading to death.
According to the classification recognised by the World Health Organization, individuals with a body mass index (calculated by taking the ratio of your weight to your height square) 30 and above are considered obese. If this calculation cannot be made, this evaluation can also be made by waist circumference measurement (102 cm in men and 88 cm in women is associated with a high risk of obesity). Compared to the world averages in terms of obesity alone, the situation in our country does not seem brighter. The prevalence of obesity, which has been found to be 13% worldwide, has been found to be 36% in our country. Moreover, our obesity frequency has increased by 40% only in the last 12 years. It is not easy to predict the results in our country, but the analysis conducted in the United States in 2008 evaluated the increase in health expenditures due to obesity as 147 billion dollars. It is clearly seen that their work to increase social awareness has started to bear fruit. By 2020, they managed to achieve a 5% reduction in their average Body Mass Index, estimating that they could only prevent 3.6 million cases of hypertension, 3.2 million cases of stroke and cardiovascular disease, 4.1 million cases of diabetes, 1.9 million cases of arthritis, and even 300,000 cases of cancer. So success is possible in this struggle.
In these days, where we have more inactive work and eat more fast food, which are brought by the modern world, we should start to work healthier, consume less and move more. Of course, this struggle should start in the individual's own mind, but should also be supported by the doctor. The existing and potential health risks of patients, additional diseases such as hypertension and diabetes should be revealed, and recommendations should be made with an individualized multidisciplinary approach for each patient. Today, lifestyle changes, appropriate diet and exercise programs, as well as psychological support, pharmacological and surgical treatments are important weapons in suitable patients.
During these days when we are struggling against the Covid-19 pandemic, we have to realize the importance of these two diseases, which are worse than each other. Regarding the data obtained from the large-scale registry studies, when the comorbid diseases of the patients who had to be hospitalized during the pandemic process are examined and unfortunately, hypertension and obesity are in the 1st and 2nd ranks. The situation becomes even more obvious when looking at only young people. All our patients, even if they are at home, should move around, limit their calorie intake, not gain weight, comply with their doctor's recommended diet and, of course continue, to take their medications regularly. Exercising on the condition of maintaining distance in appropriate places will help both blood pressure control and get rid of excess weight. Take control of your blood pressure and weight to live a healthy and long life. "