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19 February 2024

HomeHealthAdequate treatment for hypertension could forestall 76 million deaths globally

Adequate treatment for hypertension could forestall 76 million deaths globally

Adequate treatment for hypertension could forestall 76 million deaths globally

Adequate treatment for hypertension could forestall 76 million deaths globally

(Web Desk)- Hypertension, often known as high blood pressure, is a widespread medical condition that affects millions of individuals worldwide. According to a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report, hypertension is responsible for a shocking number of fatalities worldwide.

This feature sheds light on the symptoms, causes, and critical role of prevention in averting the alarming number of deaths associated with this silent killer.

Silent Killer

Hypertension is a chronic medical disorder characterized by increased blood pressure levels.  According to the WHO report, hypertension, categorized as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher, affects 1 in 3 adults worldwide.

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It is sometimes referred to as the “silent killer” since it rarely develops visible signs in its early stages. However, if left untreated, it can lead to serious health consequences such as heart disease, stroke, and renal failure.

Symptoms

One of the most difficult parts of hypertension is its asymptomatic nature. Many people are unaware of their ailment until it has progressed to an advanced stage. Persistent headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, chest pain, and shortness of breath are some of the more prevalent symptoms. Blood pressure monitoring on a regular basis is critical for early identification and management.

Causes

Various factors contribute to the development of this medical condition. These include genetic predisposition, and unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, excessive salt intake, alcohol consumption, and smoking. Additionally, underlying medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease can also increase the risk of developing hypertension.

Prevention: A Key to Saving Lives:

Hypertension can be controlled effectively with simple, low-cost medication regimens, and yet only about one in five people with hypertension have controlled it,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, stated in a news release.

High-performing countries like Canada and South Korea have delivered comprehensive national hypertension treatment programs, according to WHO, and both nations have surpassed the 50% mark for blood pressure control in adults with hypertension.

According to the report, if the illness is appropriately addressed, as many as 1.2 million US fatalities might be avoided by 2040. However, in order for the country to achieve a 50% control rate, 693,000 more persons with hypertension would need to be adequately treated.

Every hour, more than 1,000 people die from strokes and heart attacks, according to Dr. Tom Frieden, president and CEO of the organization Resolve to Save Lives and former director of the CDC. “Most of these deaths are caused by high blood pressure, and most could have been prevented.”

Adopting Healthy Lifestyle:

 Regular physical activity, such as brisk walking or cycling, helps maintain a healthy weight and improves cardiovascular health. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in sodium and saturated fats is essential.

Limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking are also crucial steps towards prevention.

While emphasizing lowering sodium intake, Michael Bloomberg, former New York mayor and the WHO global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases and injuries said, “Most heart attacks and strokes in the world today can be prevented with affordable, safe, accessible medicines and other interventions, such as sodium reduction.”

Regular Blood Pressure Monitoring:

Regular blood pressure monitoring is critical, particularly for individuals with a family history of hypertension or those at higher risk due to other medical conditions. Timely detection allows for early intervention and effective management, lowering the risk of complications.

Stress Management:

 Engaging in stress-reducing activities like meditation, yoga, or hobbies can help manage stress levels and promote overall well-being.

Accessible Healthcare and Education:

Improving access to healthcare and raising awareness about hypertension are critical components of prevention. Governments and healthcare organizations should prioritize public health campaigns, educational programs, and inexpensive healthcare services to ensure hypertension detection and management.

Hypertension poses a significant global health challenge, with millions of lives at stake.

Understanding the symptoms, causes, and the importance of prevention is significant in fighting this silent killer. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, monitoring blood pressure regularly, managing stress, and promoting accessible healthcare, we can collectively work towards averting the estimated 76 million deaths globally, as highlighted by the WHO report.

“Good hypertension care is affordable, within reach, and strengthens primary health care,” Frieden added. “The challenge now is to go from ‘within reach’ to ‘reached.’ This will require commitment of governments around the world.”

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