The World Health Organisation (WHO) says proper treatment of hypertension can prevent 76 million deaths by the year 2025.
The WHO, in its first-ever report on hypertension launched on Tuesday, said one in three adults suffer from hypertension worldwide, adding that four out of every five people with the condition are not adequately treated.
The organisation said nearly half of people with hypertension globally are currently unaware of their condition.
The WHO added that more than three-quarters of adults with the condition live in low- and middle-income countries.
“Older age and genetics can increase the risk of having high blood pressure, but modifiable risk factors such as eating a high-salt diet, not being physically active and drinking too much alcohol can also increase the risk of hypertension,” the report reads.
“Lifestyle changes like eating a healthier diet, quitting tobacco and being more active can help lower blood pressure. Some people may need medicines that can control hypertension effectively and prevent related complications.
“The prevention, early detection and effective management of hypertension are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care and should be prioritized by countries as part of their national health benefit package offered at a primary care level.
“The economic benefits of improved hypertension treatment programmes outweigh the costs by about 18 to 1.
“An increase in the number of patients effectively treated for hypertension to levels observed in high-performing countries could prevent 76 million deaths, 120 million strokes, 79 million heart attacks, and 17 million cases of heart failure between now and 2050.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said even though hypertension can be controlled with low-cost medication regimens, control programmes remain neglected, under-prioritised and vastly underfunded.
“Strengthening hypertension control must be part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage, based on well-functioning, equitable and resilient health systems, built on a foundation of primary health care,” he said.