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Control your blood pressure
In a public health-care facility, a woman has her blood pressure taken, India.  Credit: WHO/C. Black

In a public health-care facility, a woman has her blood pressure taken, India.
Credit: WHO/C. Black

The theme for this year’s World Health Day, 7 April, is hypertension.

Also known as high or raised blood pressure, hypertension increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. Uncontrolled hypertension can also cause blindness, irregularities of the heartbeat and heart failure.

However, high blood pressure is preventable and treatable. Early detection is key: all adults should know their blood pressure.

One in three adults worldwide have raised blood pressurea – a condition that causes around half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease.

In nearly all high-income countries, widespread diagnosis and treatment with low-cost medication have led to a dramatic drop in mean blood pressure across populations – and this has contributed to a reduction in deaths from heart disease.

For example in 1980, almost 40% of adults in the WHO European Region and 31% of adults in the WHO Region of the Americas had high blood pressure. By 2008, this had dropped to below 30% and 23% respectively.

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