KARACHI: Dentists can save lives by identifying patients with undiagnosed hypertension, said Dr Syed Hussain Askary, Director Academics & Administration, Fatima Jinnah Dental College (FJDC).
He said this at a seminar with the them of “Control Blood Pressure Save Lives” which took place at the College Auditorium in Korangi Creek in connection with ongoing ‘Blood Pressure Week celebrations’.
He said: “One in three people suffer from hypertension in Pakistan, 60% remain undiagnosed and are at the risk of various complications like loss of eyesight, shock, stroke, heart attack and even death. In the absence of an effective or affordable health care system in Pakistan, if dentists simply screen their patients, who commonly visit them for dental pain and other problems, they can warn the patients, inform them about the risks and also ensure safety during dental treatment.”
Leaders and experts in the field presented latest research, up-to-date information and provided training to over 400 attendees.
Dr S Hussain Askary also informed that they have been celebrating World Health Day on 7th April every year, however, this time when Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO) informed that they have planned to make people aware of the need to know their blood pressure, to take high blood pressure seriously, and then to take control. He called a meeting with all the heads of various departments of the College, and urged them to make every effort to avail this opportunity. He further appealed that doctors aspire and prepare themselves to save lives and this was their chance to expose the Silent Killer to the community. He added that around the world, 17 million people die of Cardiovascular Diseases every year and 80% of such deaths take place in developing countries like Pakistan. He further added that management of High Blood Pressure is not difficult. For many people, lifestyle changes are sufficient to control blood pressure. For others, medication is required which is inexpensive and readily available in Pakistan.
He pleaded to the media and press that they should convey a message to the masses that “high blood pressure is preventable and treatable – Controlling blood pressure avoids attached risks, including stroke and heart attack. He recommended cutting down on salt; eating a balanced diet; getting regular exercise; stopping harmful use of alcohol and avoiding tobacco.”
Dr. Askary concluded that Fatima Jinnah Dental College expects their campaign to directly reach around 100,000 people but with the support of the press and media, the message can reach millions.
Dr Gul Rukh Askary, Head of Oral Pathology, FJDC said patients taking medication to control their blood pressure are at very high risk of developing various diseases of the mouth, most common of them are xerostomia (dry mouth), swelling and overgrowth of gums, resulting in chewing difficulties, in some cases, gum surgery to remove excess gum tissue, called gingivectomy, may be needed. She also added that she puts in special effort to make sure the upcoming dentists are well trained and can manage such pathologies. Other speakers included, Dr. Sabiha Mirza, Dr. Farhan Jaleel, Dr.Zubia Waqar and Dr. Nazia Sultan.
Podium for Doctors of Tomorrow, a skills development platform provided by the College for medical and dental students, held competitions and gave away awards and cash prizes to the deserving participants. Competitions were based on the theme of the week and included Poster Making, PowerPoint Presentation, Patient Advice Table Clinics, Awareness Flyer Designing and Undergraduate Research Projects.
The ongoing Blood Pressure Week was inaugurated on the 7th of April 2013 to mark the World Health Day 2013. Since the theme of this year was Hypertension (High blood pressure) FJDC’s students, faculty and doctors had organized awareness campaign for the general public.