The World Health Organization, WHO, on Tuesday said hypertension effects one in three adults globally and the deadly condition leads to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage and many other health problems.
The report also showed approximately four out of every five people with hypertension globally are not adequately treated.
The WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said: “The number of people living with hypertension (blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher or taking medication for hypertension) doubled between 1990 and 2019, from 650 million to 1.3 billion. Nearly half of people with hypertension globally are currently unaware of their condition. More than three-quarters of adults with hypertension live in low- and middle-income countries.
“Older age and genetics can increase the risk of having high blood pressure, but modifiable risk factors such as eating a high-salt diet, not being physically active and drinking too much alcohol can also increase the risk of hypertension.
“Lifestyle changes like eating a healthier diet, quitting tobacco and being more active can help lower blood pressure. Some people may need medicines that can control hypertension effectively and prevent related complications”, it added.
He noted that the prevention, early detection and effective management of hypertension are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care.
Dr. Ghebreyesus said, “Hypertension can be controlled effectively with simple, low-cost medication regimens, and yet only about one in five people with hypertension have controlled it.
“Hypertension control programmes remain neglected, under-prioritised and vastly underfunded.
“Strengthening hypertension control must be part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage, based on well-functioning, equitable and resilient health systems, built on a foundation of primary health care.
Most heart attacks and strokes in the world today can be prevented with affordable, safe, accessible medicines and other interventions, such as sodium reduction,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. Treating hypertension through primary health care will save lives and billions of dollars a year.”