Hypertension already affects one billion people worldwide, leading to heart attacks and strokes. Researchers have estimated that raised blood pressure currently kills 9 million people every year. Dr. George Thayil, Senior Consultant Cardiologist at Lourdes Hospital, Kochi gives here all you wanted to know about hypertension, the silent killer.
Human health is being shaped by powerful forces: demographic ageing, rapid urbanisation, and globalisation of unhealthy lifestyles. Increasingly, wealthy and resource-constrained countries are facing the same health issues.
One of the most striking examples of this shift is the fact that non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases have overtaken infectious diseases as the world’s leading cause of mortality. One of the key risk factors for cardiovascular disease is hypertension – or raised blood pressure. Hypertension already affects one billion people worldwide, leading to heart attacks and strokes. Researchers have estimated that raised blood pressure currently kills 9 million people every year. However, this risk does not need to be so high. Hypertension can be prevented. Doing so is far less costly, and far safer for patients, than interventions like cardiac bypass surgery and dialysis that may be needed when hypertension is missed and goes untreated.
World Health Organisation (WHO) is developing a Global Plan of Action, for 2013-2020, to provide a roadmap for country-led action for prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. WHO’s member-states are reaching consensus on a global monitoring framework to track progress in
preventing and controlling these diseases and their key risk factors. One of the targets envisaged is a substantial reduction in the number of people with raised blood pressure.
Hypertension is a silent, invisible killer that rarely causes symptoms. Increasing public awareness is the key, as is access to early detection. Raised blood pressure is a serious warning sign that significant lifestyle changes are needed urgently.
……………………..(Read the full part of this article from the August issue of Safety Messenger Magazine)