It is a great pleasure for me to attend this opening ceremony of the 29th Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Hypertension being held here in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, under the theme of “the wisdom for conquering hypertension” with so many people from Japan and overseas, including those participating online.
The International Society of Hypertension has made a series of recommendations for the provision of safe and high-quality medical care for hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases. I have learned that your members are dedicated to providing medical care in their respective countries and regions, and committed to research activities to create next-generation medical care. I would like to extend my sincere respect and gratitude to you all for your tireless efforts.
This meeting is being held for the first time in 16 years in Japan, where the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat, which has played such a significant role in hypertension research, was developed at Kyoto University here in Kyoto. Japan is also the place where human angiotensin II, which is involved in the regulation of blood pressure, was discovered and applied to the development of new drugs. Accurate blood pressure monitors for home use are also among the numerous research results produced in this country. It is gratifying that researchers worldwide have cooperated in laying the foundations of the study of hypertension by promoting public awareness of research results.
Speaking about the history of the evolution of living organisms, fishes are known to be low blood pressure organisms. When organisms emerged from the sea onto land during the evolutionary process, they are understood to have developed a mechanism for maintaining blood pressure by retaining salt in the body. This is crucial when we consider the evolutionary process. On the other hand, I have learned that the development of this mechanism can lead to excessive retention of salt in the body because modern-day humans can take as much salt as we wish. This is one of the causes of high blood pressure, and may also further induce various diseases. I think this is an interesting issue in studying the properties obtained through adaptation and their relationships to lifestyle.
According to the WHO, at present more than one billion people worldwide have high blood pressure. Moreover, I have learned that many people with hypertension are not aware that they have high blood pressure, or are not being treated adequately, even if they have been diagnosed with hypertension. Hypertension is one of the leading noncommunicable diseases that is largely affected by lifestyle. Therefore, the WHO has set a global target of reducing its prevalence by 33% between 2010 and 2030. It is extremely meaningful that discussions towards this target will also take place at this meeting since it is essential to change behavior by improving the health awareness of individuals.
In closing my address, I wish you all every success in building on discussions at this meeting focused on the 3 pillars Food, Move, and AI, as you contribute to the further development of the study of hypertension, and to the well-being of humanity.