The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released its first-ever report on the global impact of hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. The report, titled “Global Report on Hypertension: the race against a silent killer,” highlights the consequences of uncontrolled hypertension, including heart attacks, strokes, premature death, and economic loss.
According to the report, approximately 4 out of every 5 people with hypertension are not receiving adequate treatment. By scaling up coverage, it is estimated that 76 million deaths could be prevented between 2023 and 2050. However, the world is not on track to meet the voluntary global target of a 25% reduction in the prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension by 2025.
To address this issue, the WHO recommends implementing effective hypertension care, which includes five components: protocol, medication and equipment supply, team-based care, patient-centered services, and information systems. These components are crucial in ensuring that individuals with hypertension receive the proper care and support to prevent complications.
The report also emphasizes the importance of preventive measures, early detection, and effective management of hypertension. According to the WHO, these interventions are among the most cost-effective in healthcare and should be prioritized by countries. More than 40 low- and middle-income countries have already strengthened their hypertension care with the WHO’s HEARTS package, enrolling over 17 million people into treatment programs. The economic benefits of improved hypertension treatment programs outweigh the costs by about 18 to 1.
In India, the report highlights that around 4.6 million deaths can be prevented by 2040 if 50% of the hypertensive population controls their blood pressure. Currently, only 37% of Indians with hypertension are diagnosed, and only 30% receive treatment. The India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI), a collaborative initiative of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, state governments, Indian Council of Medical Research, WHO-India, and Resolve to Save Lives, aims to improve hypertension control in the community using evidence-based treatment protocols and uninterrupted drug supply. As of June 2023, the IHCI had scaled up to 155 districts of 27 states, enrolling 5.8 million hypertension patients.
In summary, the WHO’s report on the global impact of hypertension highlights the need for improved hypertension care and management worldwide. By increasing awareness, implementing effective care components, and prioritizing preventive measures, millions of lives can be saved, and the economic burden of hypertension can be significantly reduced.