India can avert 4.6 mn deaths by 2040 with better hypertension control: WHO

85% of Indians struggle to control high blood pressure, WHO urges action

Global hypertension crisis: 76 million lives at stake, WHO calls for wider coverage (Photo: IANS)
Global hypertension crisis: 76 million lives at stake, WHO calls for wider coverage (Photo: IANS)


Better hypertension control can help avert a whopping 4.6 million deaths due to high blood pressure in India, according to a World health Organisation report.

The World health Organisation (WHO)  released its first-ever report on the devastating global impact of high blood pressure, during the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, 19 September.

The report shows an estimated 188.3 million adults aged 30-79 years live with hypertension in India. In order to achieve a 50 per cent control rate, 67 million more people with hypertension would need to be effectively treated.

Only 37 per cent Indians have the diagnosed condition of high BP, of which 32 per cent are males and 42 per cent females. Of the 35 per cent undertaking treatment, 35 per cent are females, while 25 per cent are males.

Currently, only 15 per cent people have their hypertension under control (19 per cent female, 11 per cent males), the report said.

Uncontrolled hypertension is known to cause heart attack, stroke and premature death. In fact, the report showed that 52 per cent deaths in the country due to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack can be attributed to elevated blood pressure.

Globally, hypertension affects one in three adults worldwide. About 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, the report said.

“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.

Ageing 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.

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.

Prevention, early detection and effective management of hypertension are among the most cost-effective interventions in health care and should be prioritised by countries as part of their national health benefit package offered at a primary care level, the report said.

“Hypertension 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,” the WHO chief said.

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