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When doctor meets micro blog

2013-11-13 10:18 China Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan
Yu Zhenqiu consults with a hypertension patient in a hospital in the Pinggu district of Beijing. Zou Hong / China Daily

Yu Zhenqiu consults with a hypertension patient in a hospital in the Pinggu district of Beijing. Zou Hong / China Daily

Hypertension specialist reaches a big audience with educational information

On the walls of the inpatient wards of Beijing Anzhen Hospital, a large sign reads, "Please follow Yu Zhenqiu's micro blog for hypertension intervention".

Yu, the director of the hypertension department, said the micro blog helps him reach as many sufferers of high blood pressure as possible. Within his working hours, he can see no more than 30 patients even if he skips lunch.

"I seldom drink water at work to save the time of going to the washroom," he said.

"For the great majority who cannot see top specialty doctors like me at the country's large key hospitals, micro blogs might offer help."

His frequent postings on high blood pressure prevention and intervention tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, have brought Yu about 70,000 followers on Sina Weibo, a popular micro-blogging website.

Apart from information on free-hypertension consultation sessions, he also replies to questions online.

"Many of my postings have been forwarded thousands of times, a result that could never be achieved by treating patients in the hospital," he said.

Writing posts is now a daily routine for him, such as washing his face and brushing his teeth, he said.

Yu, who is also deputy director of the China Hypertension Association, used traditional media first to share prevention and treatment tips and educational items about the disease, before moving online.

In 1995, he initiated a free hypertension consultation program, which lasted for more than a decade.

That was so well received by both the public and the hospital authority that he was able to set up a hypertension department in the hospital.

To sustain and expand his efforts, he began to write columns for a national newspaper on hypertension intervention and make regular appearances on a live call-in program on a local radio network.

At present he's working on a new book using previous Sina Weibo postings as a major source.

According to the National Health and Family Planning Commission, China is estimated to have more than 260 million hypertension sufferers on the mainland.

Only a quarter of those get diagnosed and treated. Worse, among those receiving medical intervention, only 25 percent receive proper treatment.

When current treatment guidelines are followed, blood pressure can be successfully controlled in up to 84 percent of cases, according to a new Chinese study that was presented at the recent European Society of Cardiology Congress 2013 in Amsterdam.

Despite this, a 2011 World Health Organization report estimated that more than 40 percent of Chinese sufferers of hypertension are unaware of their condition, about 50 percent receive no medication for the condition, and about 80 percent are not controlling it well.

For such chronic diseases as hypertension, health education is important for effective control in the long run, Yu said.

Yu expressed deep concern over the general standard of hypertension intervention in the country, and said treatment is not well regulated on the mainland.

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