MILLIONS of people are living with a condition they may not even know they have – and it could kill them.
Over the past 30 years more than half of those with hypertension are not having it treated, a new study has found.
High blood pressure is a very common issue, and quite easily treated.
However if it’s not known about and not kept under control, it can drastically increase chances of suffering strokes, heart disease and renal disease.
A global study, published in The Lancet, looked at blood pressure measurements from more than 100 million people over three decades from 184 countries.
It found nearly half of people with hypertension worldwide in 2019 were unaware of their condition, and more than half of women and men with the condition weren’t treated.
The number of adults (aged 30-79 years) living with hypertension worldwide has doubled in the past 30 years.
The figures have risen from an estimated 331 million women and 317 million men in 1990, to 626 million women and 652 million men in 2019.
Symptoms of hypertension:
- Severe headaches
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
- Chest pains
- Difficulty breathing
- An irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding in the chest, neck, or ears
If your blood pressure is too high – which is known as hypertension – it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Some symptoms can include severe headaches, fatigue or confusion, vision problems and chest pains.
Sufferers of high blood pressure could also experience difficulty breathing, an irregular heartbeat, blood in the urine and pounding in the chest, neck, or ears.
If you feel any of these symptoms, it’s best to get it checked with your GP.
How you can naturally lower your blood pressure:
- Get more exercise – being lazy can increase your risk of high blood pressure
- Find ways to relax – stress is also a risk
- Reduce salt intake – too much salt means your body puts pressure on blood vessel walls
- Add potassium-rich foods to your diet – potassium manages the effect sodium has on your body
- Try to create work-life boundaries – long hours is another risk factor
- Cut down on your caffeine – caffeine makes blood vessels narrower
- Reduce your alcohol – booze can raise your blood pressure
- Get more sleep – this helps keep your relaxed
- Eat dark chocolate – flavonoids relax blood vessels and boosts flow
- Get close with someone – physical contact can lower blood pressure
The risk of hypertension is greater if you are over 65-years-old, are overweight, exercise rarely, and have a history of high blood pressure in the family.
You can take steps to lower your blood pressure by losing weight, which is helped by increasing exercise and eating a healthy diet.
Doctors also recommend reducing alcohol intake and cutting out smoking.
Worldwide, blood pressure was controlled with medication in fewer than 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men with hypertension.
High blood pressure is directly linked to more than 8.5 million deaths worldwide each year.
Lowering blood pressure can cut the number of strokes by 35-40 per cent, heart attacks by 20-25 per cent, and heart failure by around 50 per cent.
“Despite medical and pharmacological advances over decades, global progress in hypertension management has been slow, and the vast majority of people with hypertension remain untreated, with large disadvantages in low- and middle-income countries”, says Professor Majid Ezzati, Imperial College London, UK, the senior author of the study.
“Our analysis has revealed good practice in diagnosing and treating hypertension not just in high-income countries but also in middle-income countries.
“These successes show that preventing high blood pressure and improving its detection, treatment, and control are feasible across low- and middle-income settings if international donors and national governments commit to addressing this major cause of disease and death.”