190, 000 people died of Hypertension in 2019 – WHO

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A global report on Hypertension by the World Health Organization (WHO) has shown that 190,000 people died from hypertension in Ghana in 2019.

As of 2022, the estimated number of persons living with hypertension in Ghana, according to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), is 622,849.

Globally, the number of people living with hypertension; blood pressure of greater than 140 mmHg systolic or greater than 90 mmHg diastolic or on a hypertension medication doubled between 1990 and 2019, from 650 million to 1.3 billion.

According to the report, high systolic blood pressure is responsible for more than 10 million deaths every year, yet. hypertension control programmes remain neglected, under-prioritised and vastly underfunded.

“High systolic blood pressure greater or less than 110–115 mmHg is the single most important risk factor for early death worldwide, leading to an estimated 10.8 million avoidable deaths every year, and a burden of 235 million years of life lost or lived with a disability annually,” it said.

The WHO report dubbed: “The race against a silent killer”, said high blood pressure killed and the greatest challenge was that many people living with hypertension were unaware and unable to keep it under control.

It said presently, approximately four out of every five people with hypertension were not adequately treated.

The report said hypertension related deaths were preventable through improved treatment and policies that promoted a healthy diet with less sodium, healthy levels of potassium and improved treatment.

The WHO said 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.

Hypertension is a serious, chronic medical condition that increases mortality from cardiovascular and kidney diseases.

It occurs when the pressure in blood vessels is too high.

Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as it is pumped by the heart.

The higher the pressure, the harder the heart must pump and the more damage this excess pressure does to many parts of the body, especially the brain, heart and kidneys.

Poor-quality diet high in sodium and low in potassium, overweight and obesity, consumption of alcohol, use of tobacco and physical inactivity have been identified as the main causes of hypertension.

The good news is that hypertension and its associated complications can be addressed by eating healthy diet low in sodium, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol and tobacco with regular physical activity

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