Vietnam has seen an alarming increase of hypertension and heart disease following its rapid socio-economic development in recent decades.

At the opening ceremony of the 14th National Congress of Cardiology in central Da Nang city on October 12, Pham Gia Khai, President of the Vietnam National Heart Association, noted that about 25 percent of the Vietnamese population aged more than 25 years suffered from hypertension and heart disease.

He also said the number of people suffering from cardiopathy and hypertension increased from 11.5 percent of the population in 1992 to 24.1 percent in 2008, but the figure kept rising while the number of cardiology hospitals and heart surgeons had yet to match patients’ demand.

About 2,000 experts, practitioners and surgeons, including those from the US, France, Japan, China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, and Cambodia are taking part in the biennial event.

About 1,000 reports and researches on hypertension and heart disease, as well as up-to-date technology in heart disease and cardiovascular therapeutics, were presented.

According to General Secretary of the Vietnam National Heart Association Pham Manh Hung, about 20 percent of the country’s population is expected to suffer from cardiovascular diseases and hypertension by 2017 if current trends remain the same.

He attributed the increase to rampant feasts and overconsumption of fatty food and alcoholic drinks.

He also pointed to such challenges as the lack of understanding of basic cardiovascular health and hypertension in communities and deficient funding for successful preventive programmes.

The three-day congress also include free heart and hypertension check-ups for Co Tu ethnic minorities in Da Nang, a mass walkathon for a healthy cardiology community and online heart surgery at Da Nang General Hospital.-VNA