WHO urges countries to tackle soaring rates of high blood pressure
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its first-ever report on the devastating impact of high blood pressure around the world, which shows that around four in five people with high blood pressure aren’t properly treated. It urges governments around the world to improve GP services to tackle this.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its first-ever report on the devastating impact of high blood pressure around the world. It shows that around four in five people with high blood pressure aren’t properly treated.
The report reveals the shocking statistics behind hypertension (blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher), which doubled between 1990 and 2019 from 650 million to 1.3 billion. Almost half of these people are unaware they have the condition.
But if countries can improve treatment, it urges that up to 76 million deaths, 120 million strokes, 79 million heart attacks, and 17 million heart failure cases could be avoided in the next 17 years.
WHO urges countries to prioritise offering the prevention, early detection, and effective management of hypertension at GP level. It states that every £1 invested in improving hypertension treatment will generate around £18 in the long run.
“Hypertension can be controlled effectively with simple, low-cost medication regimens, and yet, only about one in five people with hypertension have controlled it,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General.
“Hypertension control programmes remain neglected, under-prioritized, and vastly underfunded,” he adds. “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.”
WHO argues that better prevention and control of hypertension is essential to the global progress of the global Sustainable Development Goals. This includes effective treatment plans for patients, access to medication and equipment, team-based care, patient-centred services – such as free medication – and simple information systems.
“The research shows that most heart attacks and strokes can be prevented,” says Phil Pyatt CEO of Blood Pressure UK
“At Blood Pressure UK we are working hard to reach as many of the 6 million people with high blood pressure in the UK who are unware through encouraging people to get tested by their GP, at a pharmacy or at home through home monitoring. By taking the necessary steps, e.g. lifestlyle changes, diet and exercise, reducing your salt intake and in some cases medication, people can reduce their blood pressure and their risk of heart attacks and strokes."