3 April 2013 — To mark World Health Day on 7 April, WHO is calling for intensified efforts to prevent and control hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Worldwide, high blood pressure is estimated to affect more than one in three adults aged 25 and over, or about one billion people. Hypertension is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke – which together make up the world’s number one cause of premature death and disability.
Hypertension is one of the most important contributors to heart disease and stroke – which together make up the world’s number one cause of premature death and disability. Researchers estimate that high blood pressure contributes to nearly 9.4 million deaths from cardiovascular disease each year. It also increases the risk of conditions such as kidney failure and blindness.
Prevention and control of high blood pressure
Detecting high blood pressure is the first step in preventing and controlling it. On this year’s World Health Day, WHO is calling on all adults around the world to get their blood pressure measured. When people know their blood pressure level, they can take steps to control it.
“Our aim today is to make people aware of the need to know their blood pressure, to take high blood pressure seriously, and then to take control,” says Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO.
People can cut the risks of high blood pressure by:
- consuming less salt
- eating a balanced diet
- engaging in regular physical activity
- avoiding tobacco use
- avoiding harmful use of alcohol.
The prevalence of hypertension is highest in Africa (46% of adults) while the lowest prevalence is found in the Americas (35% of adults). Overall, high-income countries have a lower prevalence of hypertension (35% of adults) than low -and -middle income groups (40% of adults) – thanks to successful multisectoral public policies, and better access to health care.
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