The Global Impact of Hypertension and the Urgency for Improved Treatment

The Global Impact of Hypertension and the Urgency for Improved Treatment

According to a recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 80% of people with hypertension are not receiving adequate treatment. However, the potential to scale up coverage could prevent 76 million deaths worldwide between 2023 and 2050. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a significant risk factor for death and disability, particularly in India. The Lancet published a paper revealing that less than a quarter of hypertensive patients in India had their blood pressure under control from 2016 to 2020, although this rate has shown improvement compared to previous years.

The National Family Health Survey reported that the prevalence of hypertension in India has increased, with 24% of men and 21% of women being affected in 2019-2020, compared to 19% and 17% respectively in the previous survey. Despite these statistics, the India Hypertension Control Initiative program has been recognized for its positive impact within the country’s primary healthcare system.

The WHO report highlights the global scale of hypertension, affecting one in three adults worldwide. This condition is associated with severe health problems such as stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney damage. Furthermore, nearly half of those with hypertension are unaware of their condition. The majority of adults with hypertension live in low- and middle-income countries.

To combat this silent killer, the WHO recommends lifestyle changes such as adopting a healthier diet, quitting tobacco, and increasing physical activity. In some cases, medication may be necessary for effective blood pressure control.

The WHO emphasizes the importance of prevention, early detection, and effective management of hypertension, which can be highly cost-effective interventions. Currently, only one in five people with hypertension have their condition under control. The director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, calls for increased prioritization and funding for hypertension control programs, stating that strengthening hypertension control should be a vital part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage based on a robust primary healthcare system.

Source: World Health Organization (WHO)

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