World Hypertension Day is observed every year on May 17. The day was designated by the World Hypertension League to promote prevention and control of hypertension (also known as high blood pressure). Hypertension is one of the major causes of death and disability globally. It is the leading contributor in the global epidemic of non-communicable diseases. As per estimates, nearly 1.58 billion would be affected with hypertension by 2025. Despite the grim scenario, nearly half of the world’s population suffering from hypertension is not even aware of their own condition.
Thus, the World Hypertension Day strives to provide information related to hypertension – its causes, symptoms, precaution and prevention, treatment, etc. to raise awareness about the disorder, various activities and events are organized on this day all across the world.
Objective World Hypertension Day
It is the objective of World Hypertension Day to sensitize people and raise awareness about hypertension, a disorder characterized by chronic elevation in the patient’s blood pressure.
History of the World Hypertension Day
The idea of World Hypertension Day was floated by the World Hypertension League (WHL). The WHL is a non-profit and non-governmental organization with over 60 national hypertension societies in their council. It is dedicated to the cause of prevention and control of hypertension. In accordance with its mission, WHL launched the World Hypertension Day in 2005. Since then, this observance has gained wide international attention and more organizations are taking part in the observance of this day with each passing year.
Theme of World Hypertension Day 2020
WHL decides the theme for World Hypertension Day celebration every year. The theme of 2020 is “Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer, with a goal of increasing high blood pressure (BP) awareness in all populations around the world.” Many events and activities were scheduled around this theme for observance of the WHD but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WHL has postponed most of the events until October 17, 2020.
Previous Years Themes
- 2005: Awareness of High Blood Pressure
- 2006: Prevent hypertension – ‘treat to goal’
- 2007: Healthy diet – healthy blood pressure
- 2008: Measure your blood pressure at home
- 2009: Salt and high blood pressure – two silent killers
- 2010: Healthy Weight – Healthy Blood Pressure
- 2011: Know your numbers – target your blood pressure
- 2012: Healthy Lifestyle – Healthy Blood Pressure
- 2013-2019: Know your numbers
Important Facts About Hypertension
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is a disorder related to elevation of blood pressure in the arteries. It is a chronic disorder which may lead to cardiovascular problems if not managed well.
To understand this better, try imagining your heart beats. Every time your heart is beating, it is actually pumping blood to your entire body. This way it is supplying the body with required energy and oxygen. As this blood starts moving to different parts of your body, it keeps pushing against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this push is called the blood pressure. When a person is suffering from hypertension, the force of the blood against the artery walls is too high.
Blood pressure between 120/80 is considered normal and blood pressure of 130/80 or above is considered high.
Symptoms of hypertension
Symptoms of hypertension may or may not be visible. Nearly half of the population suffering from it is not even aware of the problem. At times, a person may get to know about his/her condition during a hypertensive crisis. In order to avoid such situations, doctors recommend regular medical check-up for all.
Some of the common symptoms of hypertension includes:
- Severe headache
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Blood in Urine
- Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears
Causes of hypertension
The exact cause of hypertension is unknown. However, some conditions leading to high blood pressure include:-
- Lack of physical exercise
- Excessive salt in diet
- Chronic kidney disease
- Thyroid disorder
Treatment of hypertension
Treatment of hypertension usually requires a multi-pronged approach including lifestyle changes, dietary amendments, physical exercises. When a patient is unable to bring his/her blood pressure under normal range despite these changes, doctors also prescribe medications like Thiazide diuretics, Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and Calcium channel blockers.