World Health Organization has just released its first report on the devastating global impact of high blood pressure and the numbers do not look good. However, on the brighter side, the organization has also suggested recommendations on how to counter this “silent killer” along with promising statistics.
Starting with the mind-boggling stats: According to the American Heart Association’s Report of 2023, nearly half of Americans aged 20 years and above, that is around 122 million adults, are diagnosed with high blood pressure.
The issue escalates as we talk about the WHO remarks on Hypertension. Around 4 out of 5 people diagnosed with Hypertension are not getting adequate treatment. However, If countries make improvements to the coverage and scale up, a whopping 76 million lives could be saved between 2023 and 2050.
High blood pressure aka Hypertension if left untreated can cause some serious health consequences including heart failure and Kidney issues. “Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke, and premature death,” said WHO Director-General, Mr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Continuing the above opening statement, Mr. Tedros said “Hypertension is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide, affecting one in three adults”.
Now, these statistics cannot get any scarier. To tackle this silent killer the first and foremost thing is to understand how blood pressure causes such serious health consequences. Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center explained Hypertension and its relation with heart failures in a very simple way in an interview with Fox News Digital. Mr. Siegel said:
“The heart is a pump — and it is pumping against resistance. The greater the resistance from the arteries, the more pressure on the heart and the more likely it could fail, or be damaged by insufficient blood flow or develop an abnormal rhythm and throw off a clot (stroke) or increase pressure on the kidneys, which causes them to fail.”
Now, let’s understand the theory behind the resistance from arteries.
What Is Blood Pressure?
The arteries are like pipelines that carry blood from the heart to the other body parts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Blood pressure is the pumping of the blood against the wall of arteries. It is a measure of the force used by the heart to pump blood across your body.
There are two levels of Hypertension:
- Hypertension Stage 1: This is when the high blood pressure is at or above 130/80 mmHg.
- Hypertension Stage 2: This is when the high blood pressure is at 140/90 mmHg or higher.
- When the blood pressure reading goes above 180 (systolic) and/or 120 (diastolic), it is called Hypertensive crisis which is associated with the signs of target-organ damage.
WHO reported that the population diagnosed with Hypertension stage 2 reached 1.3 billion in 2019, from just 650 million in 1990. And almost 50% of people globally live with hypertension without even recognizing the chronic medical condition.
The lesson that needs to be learned here is that you need to know your Blood pressure numbers in order to get the right treatment at the right time.
It’s not too late to learn that Blood pressure is a preventable disease and a little carefulness and awareness can go a long way in treating this chronic disease.
“Hypertension can be controlled effectively with simple, low-cost medication regimens, and yet only about one in five people with hypertension have controlled it,”, said the director-general of WHO.
Ways To Treat Hypertension – The Silent Killer, According To WHO
- Check blood pressure regularly after the diagnosis of hypertension
- Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and make sure that the sodium intake is low.
The ideal sodium intake should not be more than 3400 mg every day
- Check for the “Heart-Check mark” on certain food packaging that meets AHA criteria for saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium
- Ensure 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity weekly.
Don’t let poor lifestyle choices deteriorate your health. Be smarter, eat well, exercise daily, and keep a check on your blood pressure regularly to prevent this silent killer aka Hypertension.
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