To the arterial hypertension It is known as the ‘silent killer’ because many people suffer from this disease without knowing it and it can cause serious complications, such as strokes, myocardial infarction, heart failure, or kidney deterioration, among many others. The World Health Organization (WHO) has just published its first report on the devastating effects of high blood pressure around the planet which highlights that approximately four out of every five people with high blood pressure do not receive adequate treatment.
The WHO report includes recommendations to combat this disease and points out that if countries expanded treatment coverage they could avoid 76 million deaths between 2023 and 2050. It is also possible to take measures to prevent hypertension, since although genetic predisposition and aging can increase the chances of having this health problem, there are risk factors that can be modified such as a diet with excess salt, lack of activity physical activity or alcohol consumption.
The number of people with high blood pressure (a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher, or who take medications to control their levels) doubled between 1990 and 2019 and increased from 650 million to 1.3 billion. Almost half of people with high blood pressure worldwide are unaware that they suffer from this condition. More than three-quarters of adults with high blood pressure live in low- or middle-income countries. In Spain, it is estimated that there are a total of 9.9 million adults between 30 and 79 years old with hypertension.
A healthy lifestyle – a balanced, low-salt diet, regular physical exercise and avoiding tobacco and alcohol – can help reduce blood pressure levels, but some people also need to take medication to achieve this. Prevention, early detection and effective management of high blood pressure are some of the most cost-effective interventions in health care and should be prioritized as part of the package of health benefits included in primary care. The economic benefits of some programs Treatment of hypertension Improved products exceed costs by approximately 18 to 1.
“Although hypertension can be controlled effectively with simple, low-cost medications, only one in five people with high blood pressure has it under control.”
“Although hypertension can be controlled effectively with simple, low-cost medications, only one in five people with high blood pressure has it under control,” stated the Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “High blood pressure control programs still do not receive the attention they deserve, they are barely prioritized and their funding is far below what is necessary. Strengthening the control of high blood pressure must be part of the actions that all countries must implement in favor of universal health coverage, based on health systems that function properly, are equitable and resilient and are based on care. primary health”.
Treat hypertension to prevent strokes
An increase in the number of patients effectively treated for high blood pressure to the levels observed in countries with a high level of results could prevent, between now and 2050, 76 million deaths, 120 million strokes, 79 million heart attacks of myocardium and 17 million cases of heart failure.
In Spain, the WHO report points out that to achieve a control rate of 50%, about 1.7 million more people with hypertension would need to be treated effectively. In this way, if this ideal progress scenario were achieved, 101,000 deaths would be avoided in our country by 2040.
“The majority of heart attacks and strokes occurring today can be prevented through affordable, safe and accessible medications and other interventions, such as sodium reduction,” he highlighted. Michael R. Bloomberg, WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. “Treating high blood pressure in primary health care “It will save lives, and will also save billions of dollars a year.”.
High blood pressure can be easily treated with safe, widely available and low-cost generic medications, through initiatives such as the programa HEARTS. This WHO technical package for the management of cardiovascular diseases in primary health care and the Guideline for the pharmacological treatment of hypertension in adults provide a series of proven practical measures to provide effective care for high blood pressure in adults. primary health care settings.
The report highlights the importance of implementing the measures recommended by the WHO for adequate control of high blood pressure that contributes to saving lives, and that are based on these actions:
- Protocol: Practical treatment protocols that specify doses and medications, along with specific measures to manage uncontrolled blood pressure, can expedite care and improve therapeutic adherence.
- Availability of medications and professionals: Regular and uninterrupted access to affordable medications is necessary for effective treatment of hypertension; Currently, the variation from one country to another in the price of essential drugs against high blood pressure is more than tenfold.
- Team care: Working as a team to adjust hypertension medication guidelines improves patient outcomes.
- Patient-centered services: Providing easy-to-adhere treatment regimens, free medications, scheduling follow-up visits close to home, and easy access to blood pressure monitoring systems reduce barriers to care.
- Information systems: that are simple and user-centered facilitate the rapid recording of patient data, reduce the burden on health workers when entering data and help to quickly scale up actions, maintaining or improving the quality of care.
Fuente: World Health Organization (WHO)