World Hypertension Day 2024: Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer

Dr. Prakash Kotecha

Public Health Specialist, APCA

Share This Article

World Hypertension Day (WHD) is a day designated and initiated by The World Hypertension League (WHL), which is itself an umbrella to organizations of 85 national hypertension societies and leagues. The day was initiated to increase the awareness of hypertension. This was especially important because of the lack of appropriate knowledge among hypertensive patients. The WHL launched its first WHD on May 14, 2005. Since 2006, the WHL has been dedicating May 17 of every year as WHD. 

This year the theme for World Hypertension Day is “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer.”

What is Blood Pressure? 

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day with the level of activity you carry out.

What do blood pressure numbers mean?

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:

The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats. If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you will say, “120 over 80,” or write, “120/80 mmHg.”

What is Hypertension or high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure (or hypertension). The American Heart Association has set criteria for diagnosing hypertension. Blood pressure up to 120 mm of Hg systolic and 80 mm of Hg diastolic are considered normal, and beyond that depending upon the number (See figure of blood pressure categories) it is considered elevated, stage 1 hypertension or stage 2 hypertension etc. If you have either systolic blood pressure high which is more common and/or diastolic blood pressure high which is less common, you have hypertension. 

How Common is Hypertension? 

Globally, an estimated 1.28 billion adults aged 30–79 years worldwide have hypertension, most (two-thirds) living in low- and middle-income countries. An estimated 46% of adults with hypertension are unaware that they have high blood pressure. Less than half of adults (42%) with hypertension are diagnosed and treated. Approximately 1 in 5 adults (21%) with hypertension have it under control. Hypertension is a major cause of premature death worldwide.

In the USA it is very common disease Nearly half of adults have hypertension (48.1%, 119.9 million). About 1 in 4 adults with hypertension have their hypertension under control (22.5%, 27.0 million). About half of adults (45%) with uncontrolled hypertension have a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher. This includes 37 million U.S. adults. About 34 million adults who are recommended to take medication may need it to be prescribed and to start taking it. Almost two out of three of this group (19 million) have a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher. High blood pressure costs the United States about $131 billion each year based on past 10 years data. 

In Arizona, 30.6% adults have been diagnosed or told by physicians that they have hypertension, against 32.4% for the country, and thus Arizona falls rank 16 in the USA. Here the data is by history only and thus it is less than mentioned above for the country, where it is history plus measurement of blood pressure. The least percentage of people having hypertension is in Colorado and ranked number 1, (26% having hypertension) while Mississippi at rank 49 had the highest hypertension prevalence (43.9%) as per CDC report of 2021. Florida did not have the report. It is more in male, more in black as compared to white and Asians and it is believed that stress and socio-economic conditions are more responsible than genetic factors. However, at the state level in Arizona, there is no racial disaggregated data available with CDC.

What are the complications of Hypertension? High blood pressure is often called a silent killer. This is because many people do not know that they have high blood pressure and are diagnosed most by measuring blood pressure only. Often, high blood pressure patients have no symptoms. If not diagnosed in time or diagnosed but not controlled, it can cause severe complications and death. Best way to protect against high blood pressure is to be aware about it and take preventive measures. Blood pressure when not controlled can cause heart disease and heart attack, can cause stroke, can damage retina and cause blindness, can damage the kidney, and can affect sexual functions. (See the picture). However, if diagnosed and controlled, most of these complications are avoidable.

What can we do to prevent High Blood Pressure and its Complications?

Lifestyle changes can help lower high blood pressure. These include:

  • Eating a healthy, low-salt diet (salt in take of 5 gm/day or less that is equal to 2300 mg of sodium)
  • Losing weight in case you are overweight.
  • Being physically active for 30 minutes a day at least for 5 days a week.
  • Quitting tobacco in any form if you are consuming it. 
  • If you are diagnosed to have hypertension, even when you have no symptoms, monitor it, and take medicine regularly. This is the key for preventing deaths and preventing complications and to highlight that this year the theme for World Hypertension Day is “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer.” To measure blood pressure accurately and correctly it is important that you have a reliable and tested blood pressure instrument to measure it. In case of doubt, carry it with you to your doctor and get it tested before starting to use it regularly. 

At Asian Pacific Community in Action, we conduct health screening events and create awareness and provide health education to prevent chronic disease including hypertension, diabetes, hepatitis and promote healthy lifestyle and vaccination. We also promote specific ethnicity disaggregated data that differentiate the high and low prevalence among different ethnicities that are lacking at present in the country and in the state. Asian Pacific Community in Action, in collaboration with NYU Center for the Study of Asian American Health, are conducting a Community Health Resources and Need Assessment (CHRNA). The survey will take approximately 30 minutes and contribute to the future planning of health policies. Please participate by clicking this link

Have Questions?