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Key Highlights of the Report on Hypertension


Recently, during the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA) 78th session, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report titled “Global report on hypertension: The race against a silent killer.”It is the first-ever report by the WHO on the worldwide implications of hypertension, commonly referred to as high blood pressure.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the Report on Hypertension
  2. What is Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Key Highlights of the Report on Hypertension:

Global Hypertension Prevalence:
  • One in three adults worldwide is affected by hypertension.
  • The number of hypertension cases has doubled from 650 million to a staggering 1.3 billion between 1990 and 2019.
  • Hypertension affects approximately 33% of adults aged 30-79 worldwide.
  • Approximately four out of every five people with hypertension are not adequately treated.
Hypertension in India:
  • India has an estimated 188.3 million adults aged 30–79 years grappling with hypertension.
  • The prevalence of high blood pressure in India is slightly lower than the global average of 31%.
  • India needs to ensure that an additional 67 million people with hypertension receive effective treatment to reach a 50% control rate.
  • Achieving progress in hypertension treatment could avert 4.6 million deaths due to high blood pressure by 2040.
Global Impact of Effective Hypertension Treatment:
  • About 80% of individuals with hypertension do not receive adequate treatment.
  • Effective hypertension treatment has the potential to prevent 76 million deaths, 120 million strokes, 79 million heart attacks, and 17 million cases of heart failure by 2050.
Disparities in Treatment Coverage:
  • Treatment coverage for hypertension exhibits significant disparities among countries, with high-income nations having a more favorable coverage rate.
  • The WHO region of the US leads with a 60% coverage rate, while the African region lags behind at 27%.
  • More than three-quarters of adults with hypertension live in low- and middle-income countries.
Uncontrolled Hypertension and Medication:
  • Nearly 30% of individuals with uncontrolled hypertension exhibit blood pressure measurements above the threshold warranting urgent treatment.
  • Globally, the percentage of adults aged 30–70 taking medication for hypertension has doubled from 22% in 1990 to 42% in 2019.
  • Effective treatment coverage has quadrupled during the same period, reaching 21%.
WHO Recommendations:
  • The WHO emphasizes the need to prioritize the prevention, early detection, and effective management of hypertension as part of national health benefit packages.
Additional Recommendations:
  • Strengthening hypertension control programs, which are currently under-prioritized and underfunded.
  • Making hypertension control an integral part of every country’s journey toward universal health coverage.

What is Hypertension (High Blood Pressure):

  • Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, occurs when the pressure in your blood vessels is too high (140/90 mmHg or higher).
  • It is a common condition but can be serious if left untreated.
Blood Pressure Explanation:

Blood pressure is represented as two numbers:

  • The first number (systolic) measures the pressure in blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats.
  • The second number (diastolic) measures the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
World Hypertension Day:
  • Celebrated on May 17 every year to raise awareness about hypertension and encourage people to prevent and manage this silent health condition.

Risk Factors:

  • High-salt diets, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption, and genetics contribute to hypertension.


  • Most individuals with hypertension do not experience symptoms.
  • Very high blood pressure can lead to symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision, chest pain, and others.

Complications of Uncontrolled Hypertension:

  • Severe heart issues, including chest pain, heart attacks, heart failure, and irregular heartbeats.
  • Increased risk of stroke by affecting blood flow to the brain.


  • Management involves lifestyle changes like adopting a low-salt diet, weight loss, physical activity, and quitting tobacco.
  • Medications may also be prescribed.
Global Initiatives:
  • The WHO and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Hearts Initiative in 2016 to reduce the global prevalence of hypertension by 25% by 2025.
  • The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3) aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all.
India-Specific Initiatives:
  • India Hypertension Control Initiative Program (IHCI) aims to provide standard care to 75 million patients with hypertension or diabetes by 2025.
  • The government emphasizes non-communicable disease screening and treatment at the primary healthcare level.

-Source: Down To Earth

May 2024