World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948. The theme for World Health Day in 2013 is high blood pressure, also known as raised blood pressure or hypertension.
The normal level for blood pressure is below 120/80, where 120 represents the systolic measurement (peak pressure in the arteries) and 80 represents the diastolic measurement (minimum pressure in the arteries). Blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called prehypertension (to denote increased risk of hypertension), and a blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered hypertension.
Hypertension may be classified as essential or secondary. Essential hypertension is the term with unknown cause. It accounts for about 95% of cases. Secondary hypertension is the term for high blood pressure with a known direct cause, such as kidney disease, tumors, or pills.
If left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can damage the arteries and vital organs throughout the body, leading to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and serious vision disorders. One in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure.
According to the World Health Organisation, High Blood Pressure affects one in three adults worldwide and leads to more than nine million deaths globally every year.
9.4 million Indians die due to hypertension every year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Nearly a third of young Indians – 33 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women under 25 – have hypertension or high blood pressure.