Health

700m of 1.28b hypertensive patients untreated, says WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO), yesterday, revealed that more than 700 million of the 1.28 billion persons living with high blood pressure (hypertension) were not on treatment.

In the first comprehensive global analysis of trends in hypertension prevalence, detection, treatment and control published yesterday in The Lancet and led by Imperial College London and WHO, the number of adults aged between 30 and 79 years with hypertension increased from 650 million to 1.28 billion in the last 30 years, with nearly half the population unknown of the infection.

The study, conducted by a global network of physicians and researchers, covered 1990 to 2019. It used blood pressure measurement and treatment data from over 100 million people aged from 30 to 79 years in 184 countries, together covering 99 per cent of the global population, which makes it the most comprehensive review of worldwide trends in hypertension till date.

By analysing this massive amount of data, the researchers found that there was little change in the overall rate of hypertension in the world from 1990 to 2019, but the burden has shifted from wealthy nations to low and middle-income nations.

Canada, Peru and Switzerland were among the lowest in terms of prevalence in 2019, while the highest was recorded in Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Paraguay for women and Hungary, Paraguay and Poland for men.

The researchers said though the per cent of people, who have hypertension has changed little since 1990, the number of persons with the ailment doubled to 1.28 billion, primarily due to population growth and aging.

In 2019, over one billion patients (82 per cent of world’s tally) lived in low and middle-income nations.

Senior author of the study and Professor of Global Environmental Health at the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, Majid Ezzati, stated: “Nearly half a century after we started treating hypertension, which is easy to diagnose and treat with low-cost medicines, it is a public health failure that so many of the people with high blood pressure in the world are still not getting the treatment they need.”

Men and women in Canada, Iceland and the Republic of Korea were most likely to receive medication to effectively treat and control their hypertension, with more than 70 per cent of those with the scourge receiving treatment in 2019.

Comparatively, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa, Central, South and South East Asia and the Pacific Island nations are the least likely to be receiving medication. Treatment rates were below 25 per cent for women, and 20 per cent for men, in a number of countries in these regions, creating a massive global inequity in treatment.

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