More than half of people with high blood pressure do not receive treatment

Amman Today

publish date 2021-09-05 09:56:31

More than half of the world’s high blood pressure, or about 720 million people, do not receive the necessary treatment, exposing them to serious cardiovascular problems, according to a study funded by the World Health Organization.

“High blood pressure significantly increases the risk of heart, brain and kidney diseases and is one of the main causes of death in the world,” a statement issued by the UN organization said after the study was published in the medical journal “The Lancet”.

According to researchers, more than 8.5 million deaths each year in the world are directly attributable to high blood pressure. If this problem is contained, the number of heart attacks could be reduced by 20 to 25 percent and strokes by 35 to 40 percent, according to the researchers.

This study, conducted by Imperial College London, showed that the number of people with high blood pressure doubled in the world within 30 years, rising from 650 million in 1990 to 1.28 billion in 2019.

This increase may be attributed in absolute terms to the increase in the world population and its aging, and the proportion of people suffering from this disease in the total population has not changed much during 30 years (almost one third of the adult population in the world).

Conversely, while the number of people with hypertension decreased in high-income countries, it increased or remained the same in low- or middle-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and some countries in Asia. Researchers also estimate that 580 million people in the world have this disease without realizing it.

In total, more than half of people with high blood pressure (about 720 million people) do not receive the necessary treatment. “While high blood pressure is easy to diagnose and treat, so many people who do not receive the necessary treatment constitute a public health setback,” Dr. Maged Ezzati, lead author of the study, said in the statement.

Parallel to this study, the World Health Organization published recommendations to improve treatment of this disease. Among its recommendations, the organization stressed the need to adopt a healthy lifestyle, reduce the proportion of salt in food and increase the consumption of vegetables and fruits, as well as practice regular physical activity, avoid smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.

The blood pressure caused by the heart pumping blood into the arteries is measured based on two measures: systolic pressure at the time of contraction of the heart muscle and diastolic pressure at the time of diastole of the heart muscle. The pressure is high when the first ratio exceeds 140 mmHg and the second 90 mmHg.

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