Almost half of adults with high blood pressure don’t know they have it, a WHO report says

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for death and disability, yet nearly 80% of people with the condition are not receiving adequate treatment, according to the World Health Organization’s first report on high blood pressure and its consequences.

It is estimated that high blood pressure is responsible for an estimated 10 million deaths worldwide each year report. The condition formerly known as hypertension increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney problems.

About a third of adults worldwide are affected by high blood pressure 48% of adults in the US It can cause serious complications if left untreated and causes more deaths worldwide than smoking and high blood sugar.

“The bottom line here is that the world’s deadliest disease is also the most neglected,” said Tom Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Washington Post. “This neglect results in millions of people suffering preventable deaths and preventable heart attacks and strokes every year.”

The number of people with high blood pressure has doubled from 650 million in 1990 to 1.3 billion in 2019, the report said. Yet almost half of adults living with the condition are unaware that they have it.

This is called hypertension “silent murderer” That’s because most people don’t experience any symptoms, even if their blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels. Therefore, people are advised to have their blood pressure checked regularly. When high blood pressure causes symptoms, they include headaches, nosebleeds, and shortness of breath.

About 76 million deaths could be prevented by 2050 if half of people with high blood pressure got it under control, the report estimates. This could also prevent 120 million strokes, 79 million heart attacks and 17 million cases of heart failure.

WHO called for prioritizing prevention, early detection and effective management efforts at the primary care level as a way to avert serious complications, adding that these measures are among the most cost-effective healthcare interventions.

“High blood pressure control programs remain neglected, under-prioritized and significantly underfunded.” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization. “Strengthening hypertension control must be part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage, based on well-functioning, equitable and resilient health systems and based on primary health care.”

Hypertension is defined as a blood pressure value of 140/90 mmHg or higher.

There are two main types. Primary hypertension is caused by aging or lifestyle factors, while secondary hypertension is caused by existing medical conditions or medications. Some people experience both, they say Cleveland Clinic.

It affects people who are older, obese or overweight, sedentary, smoke, drink alcohol or pregnant more likely to develop High blood pressure. Black people are also disproportionately affected and often develop the disease earlier in their lives than white people. People who consume too much sodium or too little potassium are also at increased risk.

Many people can lower their blood pressure or keep it within a healthy range through lifestyle changes. These include getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, not smoking, eating a healthy diet with limited amounts of sodium and alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and managing stress, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Medications can also help control blood pressure and ward off fatal complications caused by the condition. These include diuretics and beta blockers.

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