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‘Every hour 1,000 people die of stroke, heart attack due to high blood pressure’

More than 1,000 people globally die of strokes and heart attacks every hour, mostly due to high blood pressure, an official of not-for-profit, Resolve to Save Lives, said.

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September 19, 2023: More than 1,000 people globally die of strokes and heart attacks every hour, mostly due to high blood pressure, an official of not-for-profit, Resolve to Save Lives, said.

“Every hour, more than 1,000 people die from strokes and heart attacks. Most of these deaths are caused by high blood pressure, and most could have been prevented,” said Dr Tom Frieden, President & CEO, of Resolve to Save Lives. 

“Good hypertension care is affordable, within reach, and strengthens primary health care. The challenge now is to go from “within reach” to “reached.” This will require commitment of governments around the world.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) on September 19, 2023, released its first-ever report on the global impact of high blood pressure, along with recommendations on the ways to win the race against this silent killer.

The report shows approximately four out of every five people with hypertension are not adequately treated, but if countries can scale up coverage, 76 million deaths could be averted between 2023 and 2050.

One in three adults

Hypertension affects one in three adults worldwide. This deadly condition leads to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage and numerous other health problems.

The number of people living with hypertension — blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher or taking medication for hypertension — doubled between 1990 and 2019, from 650 million to 1.3 billion. 

“Hypertension can be controlled effectively with simple, low-cost medication regimens, and yet only about one in five people with hypertension have controlled it.” Said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“Hypertension control programmes remain neglected, under-prioritized 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.”

Nearly half of people with hypertension globally are currently unaware of their condition. More than three-quarters of adults with hypertension 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, according to a WHO statement.

Early detection

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 one.

The WHO report was unveiled during the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly which addresses progress for the Sustainable Development Goals including health goals on pandemic preparedness and response, ending tuberculosis and attaining Universal Health Coverage.

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, according to the report.


Hypertension can easily be treated with safe, widely available, low-cost generic medications using programmes such as HEARTS. 

WHO’s HEARTS, of which Resolve to Save Lives is a partner, has a technical package for cardiovascular disease management in primary health care and the Guideline for the pharmacological treatment of hypertension in adults to provide proven and practical steps to deliver effective hypertension care in primary health care settings.

More than 40 low-and-middle-income countries, including Bangladesh, Cuba, India and Sri Lanka, have strengthened their hypertension care with the HEARTS package, enrolling more than 17 million people into treatment programmes. 

Countries such as Canada and South Korea delivered comprehensive national hypertension treatment programmes, and both countries surpassed the 50% mark for blood pressure control in adults living with hypertension. 

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