More than 500 domestic and international physicians are attending the congress on New Trends in Management of Cardiovascular Diseases that opened in Ho Chi Minh City on October 12.

Forty-four professors and physicians from the US, the UK, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam presented 70 reports on advances in general cardiology, interventional cardiology and cardiovascular surgery during the two-day event.

Cardiovascular diseases account for 33 per cent of total deaths in Vietnam, said Leonard S. Lilly, M.D., professor of medicine of Harvard Medical School.

The most prominent atherosclerotic risk factors include hypertension, cigarette smoking in males, and rising lipid levels, he said.

Aggressive risk factor intervention reduces cardiovascular events and mortality, he added.

More than half of people with hypertension are unaware that they have it, according to Prof. Dang Van Phuoc, president of the HCM City Heart Association.

Thirty-seven percent of people with hypertension are aware of their disease but they are either not treated or are treated but not controlled, Phuoc said.

Only 11 percent of people with hypertension are aware of their disease and are adequately treated, he said.

Anti-hypertensive therapy decreases cardiovascular events. Weight loss, low salt intake, exercise, alcohol reduction and potassium repletion are non-pharmacologic interventions which help reduce blood pressure.

More than 11 million people in Vietnam have hypertension, he said.-VNA