Hypertension prevention and control in Canada

J Am Soc Hypertens. Mar-Apr 2008;2(2):97-105. doi: 10.1016/j.jash.2007.10.001.


Canada has a similar prevalence of hypertension to the U.S., which is lower than the prevalence in many European countries. In contrast, Canada had similar treatment and control rates of hypertension to Europe, which are substantially lower than those of the U.S. To address this disparity, a national strategic plan was developed. While the strategy never received government resources for implementation, the Canadian hypertension community has successfully initiated certain aspects of the strategy. To date, programs include: a health professional education program, a national surveillance program, a public awareness program, and a program to reduce dietary sodium. The initiatives rely heavily on volunteers and on collaboration between many organizations and various government departments. Initially largely supported by corporate donations, the programs have received increased government resources over the last 2 years. The development of a funded leadership position beginning in 2006 (Canadian Institutes of Health Research Canada Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control) has accelerated the initiatives. In the first 4 years of the health professional education program, there were large increases in the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension with corresponding reductions in cardiovascular disease. The Canadian programs could be adopted by countries with an organized and committed hypertension community.