Global report on hypertension

Context: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released its fir-ever report on the blood pressure (hypertension), also known as silent killer. 

About hypertension

  • It is commonly known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition characterized by persistently elevated blood pressure levels in the arteries. 
  • It is typically measured as two numbers, systolic (when the heart beats) and diastolic (when the heart is at rest) pressure.
  • Can be controlled effectively with simple, low-cost medication and preventive measures.
  • Healthy eating, tobacco cessation, and increased physical activity can reduce blood pressure.

Key findings of the report

  • Approximately 4 of every 5 people with hypertension are not adequately treated, but if countries can scale up coverage, 76 million deaths could be averted between 2023 and 2050.
  • Report is based on the analysis of the data where blood pressure is 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or higher or a person is taking medication for the condition.
  • The number of people living with hypertension doubled between 1990 and 2019, from 650 million to 1.3 billion
  • Nearly half of people with hypertension globally are currently unaware of their condition. More than three-quarters of adults with hypertension live in low- and middle-income countries.

Key findings about India

  • Hypertension is the most important risk factor for death and disability in India.
  • Only 37 per cent of Indians with hypertension are diagnosed and only 30 per cent get treated. 
  • At present, only 15 per cent of those with hypertension in the country have it under control.
  • More than half of all the deaths in the country (52 per cent) due to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack can be attributed to elevated blood pressure.
  • Primary triggers for hypertension in India are high salt intake, tobacco use (28%), obesity, alcohol consumption and lack of physical exercise (34%).
  • In National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5 ) reported a hypertension prevalence of 24% in men and 21% among women in 2016-2020, an increase from 19% and 17%, respectively, from the previous round (2015-16). 

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