Speaking during the launch of Regional Alliance for Hypertension Awareness (RAHA), Dr Fahed Kouli, Nephrologist at the American Hospital Dubai, said, “high blood pressure or hypertension as it is commonly known, is a chronic disease that can cause damage to the body and must be taken seriously. It occurs without symptoms and is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.” Dr Kouli added: “While the condition can be easily diagnosed and successfully treated, nearly 70 per cent of the people who have high blood pressure, unfortunately, do not have it under control. There is a clear need to find better ways to educate the public about the consequences of high blood pressure. Raising awareness on hypertension is crucial for public health. The formation of RAHA is a good step towards achieving this goal,” he noted.
The RAHA campaign comprises patients, relatives of patients and volunteers who have teamed up to spread awareness about the perils of hypertension in the region. The group hopes to start its work in the UAE and then reach out to other countries.
“We have formed this alliance to help people like us. We have all suffered from hypertension personally or have had family members, relatives or friends who have suffered from heart attack or stroke because of hypertension,” said Dr Maryam Kaladary, spokesperson for RAHA. “We know that the disease can be controlled. It is important that people get the message - hypertension can kill.”
RAHA is the first-ever awareness initiative on the cause of hypertension and its fatal risks such as stroke and heart attack. It aims to become the authoritative voice on preventing deaths caused by strokes and heart attacks due to high blood pressure levels or hypertension.As its first major project in the UAE, RAHA will be spearheading the UAE's celebration of the World Hypertension Day on May 17, 2007.
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