WHO Report on Hypertension

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released a comprehensive report on hypertension, shedding light on its global impact, health risks, and recommendations to combat this silent killer.

This topic of “WHO Report on Hypertension” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

Understanding the WHO Report

Global Impact of High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, poses a significant global health challenge. The WHO report emphasizes the following critical aspects:

  • Recommendations Against the Silent Killer: The report provides essential recommendations to tackle hypertension, offering insights into preventive measures and control strategies.
  • Health Risks of Hypertension: It highlights the health risks associated with blood pressure levels below 140/90, especially in individuals with diabetes, obesity, and those who consume tobacco and alcohol.

Prevalence and Control

The report unveils alarming statistics regarding the prevalence and control of hypertension worldwide:

  • 1 in 3 Individuals Affected: Globally, one in three individuals suffers from hypertension.
  • Inadequate Control: Shockingly, four out of five people with hypertension do not have their condition adequately controlled.

India-Specific Insights

The report provides specific data and insights relevant to India:

  • High Burden: India bears a substantial burden of hypertension, with 188 million adults (31% of the population) affected by this condition.
  • Diagnosis, Treatment, and Control Rates: Only 37% of individuals with hypertension are diagnosed, 30% receive treatment, and a mere 15% have their blood pressure under control.
  • Link to Cardiovascular Diseases: A staggering 52% of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in India are linked to high blood pressure.
  • Potential for Prevention: The report indicates that 4.6 million deaths in India can be prevented by 2040 through better hypertension control.
  • Triggers: Hypertension in India is exacerbated by factors such as excessive salt consumption, tobacco use, obesity, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity.
  • India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI): The report discusses the IHCI, which has enrolled 5.8 million people. Initially, there were issues with medication stock-outs, but these were improved by 2020. The initiative also saw a massive increase in drug procurement and decentralization to over 18,000 Ayushman Bharat centers.

Significance of the Report

  • First-Ever Report: This WHO report is the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the impact of high blood pressure on a global scale.
  • Highlighting Lack of Effort: It underscores the lack of sufficient efforts by countries to address the issue of hypertension, despite the availability of effective solutions.

Methodology and Data

  • Data from 2019: The report is based on data from the year 2019.
  • Age Group: It covers individuals in the age group of 30 to 79.

Key Facts and Recommendations

  • Salt Consumption: Excessive salt consumption, at 5 grams per day, is responsible for causing 17% to 30% of hypertension cases.
  • India’s Need to Act: India is urged to implement WHO recommendations on salt intake to combat hypertension effectively.
  • India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI):
    • Launched in 2018, IHCI has made substantial progress.
    • By June 2023, it had enrolled 5.8 million individuals.
    • Between March 2021 and March 2023, 48% to 55% of participants achieved blood pressure control.

The WHO’s report on hypertension serves as a wakeup call, highlighting the urgent need for coordinated efforts to combat this global health challenge. It underscores the importance of early diagnosis, effective treatment, and lifestyle modifications to prevent the devastating consequences of high blood pressure.

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