Hypertension is one of the leading causes of premature death all over the world. Around 1.28 billion people globally suffer from this condition, with most of them in middle and low-income countries. To raise awareness about this deadly medical issue, World Hypertension Day is marked on 17 May.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension or elevated blood pressure is a serious medical condition. It can lead to increased risk of brain, kidney, heart and other diseases. Also known as a ‘silent killer’, hypertension can cause serious damage to the heart, decrease blood and oxygen flow to the organ and harden arteries.
When was World Hypertension Day first celebrated?
The day was first marked by the World Hypertension League (WHL) in 2005, with 24 countries participating in the event.
The day was organised by the WHL to draw attention to hypertension and the medical complications associated with it. World Hypertension Day also aims to provide more information about the prevention, detection and treatment of this silent killer.
This year, the theme of World Hypertension Day is “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”. The theme focuses on accurate blood pressure measurement methods. It also aims to highlight the low awareness rates regarding hypertension, especially in middle and low-income countries.
According to the World Health Organization, about 46 per cent of adults remain unaware that they are suffering from hypertension. Only about 1 in 5 adults suffering from the condition have it under control. From 1975 to 2015, the number of adults suffering from the condition surged from 594 million to 1.13 billion.
One of the global targets for the World Health Organization is to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 33 percent between 2010 and 2030. Reducing the number of people with the condition can lead to lower risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney damage across populations.
In 2021, the global body released new guidelines for the pharmacological treatment of adults with hypertension.