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Medical Imaging

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Unique Medical Imagery Shows Dangers of High Blood Pressure

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via PRNewswire

EAST HANOVER, N.J., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Novartis Pharmaceuticals announced that, for the first time, the more than 65 million Americans -- one in three adults -- suffering from high blood pressure can see how this serious disease can damage their body with every beat oftheir heart. Highly advanced and proprietary imaging technology was used to develop 3-D visualizations from inside the bodies of actual patients. The resulting images show people the consequences of uncontrolled high blood pressure on their bodies, including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and vision problems. Novartis plans to use the images, which can be viewed online at http://www.SeeYourBP.com, to educate people about high blood pressure and the need to get to goal.

"With these images, high blood pressure, the so-called 'silent killer,' is no longer silent," said Alex Gorsky, head of pharma, North America and chief executive officer, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. "There is a clear need to find better ways to educate the public about high blood pressure and its complications but, until now, it was a challenge to help people understand and have a sense of urgency about a disease they could neither feel nor see. Our hope is that, with innovative new approaches such as this, a picture will indeed be worth a thousand words and, together, patients and physicians will strive to achieve healthier blood pressure goals."

The dramatic series of images were created by the production company Anatomical Travelogue (New York) and underwritten by Novartis as part of its national Blood Pressure Success Zone initiative. The images serve as the centerpiece of a book The InVision Guide to a Healthy Heart, published byHarperCollins, an interactive website http://www.invisionguide.com/heart, and will be featured in a documentary film.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a serious chronic disease. Each time the heart beats, blood is pumped through the body, creating pressure against the inside walls of the blood vessels. High blood pressure means the force of this pressure inside the blood vessels is too strong and may be causing damage to blood vessels throughout the body -- in turn causing damage to organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes. Normal blood pressure for most adults is <120/80 mm Hg.

Although high blood pressure is easy to measure and can be successfully treated, there remains a critical lack of public awareness about the disease and its consequences. A recent Canadian survey found that the majority of the public are unaware of the association between high blood pressure and heart disease (80%), heart attack (66%), kidney disease (98%), damage to blood vessels (95%) and premature death (74%). Such common misconceptions may, at least in part, account for the fact that 70% of people with this condition do not have it under control. In fact, even among patients taking medication for high blood pressure, one out of two is still uncontrolled.

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