The global impact of high blood pressure affects 4 in 5 people when it is "not properly treated", according to a report published by the World Health Organization on Tuesday.
The report, which is the first ever on the global impact of hypertension, states that "increasing the number of patients effectively treated for hypertension could prevent 76 million deaths, 120 million strokes, 79 million heart attacks and 17 million cases of heart failure between now and 2050”.
Affordable, safe, accessible medications and other interventions, such as sodium reduction, could help prevent the majority of heart attacks and strokes worldwide, the aa reports.
Michael R. Bloomberg, WHO's global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases and injuries, said that "treating hypertension through primary health care will save lives while also saving billions of dollars annually."
Hypertension affects one in three adults worldwide, posing a significant threat to their health by increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage and other related diseases.
According to the report, the number of individuals affected by hypertension has increased significantly, doubling from 650 million in 1990 to 1.3 billion in 2019.
Nearly half of those affected worldwide are unaware of high blood pressure, and over three-quarters of adults with hypertension live in low- and middle-income countries.
States are required to prioritize the prevention, early detection and effective management of hypertension as part of their national health benefits package at the primary care level.
"Hypertension can be effectively controlled with simple, low-cost medication regimens, and yet only about one in five people with hypertension have it under control," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
"Hypertension control programs remain neglected, under-prioritized and grossly underfunded," he added.