World Hypertension Day is observed every May 17th in order to raise awareness and promote hypertension prevention, detection and control (deferred to October 17, 2020, due to COVID-19 pandemic). High blood pressure is the main risk factor to develop cardiovascular disease.
More than one billion people around the world live with hypertension (high blood pressure), which is a major cause of cardiovascular disease and premature death worldwide. The burden of hypertension is felt disproportionately in low- and middle-income countries, where two thirds of cases are found, largely due to increased risk factors in those populations in recent decades. What’s more, around half of people living with hypertension are unaware of their condition, putting them at risk of avoidable medical complications and death.
To achieve the global target to reduce the prevalence of hypertension by 25% by 2025, WHO and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Global Hearts Initiative in 2016. With its five technical packages – HEARTS (manage cardiovascular diseases), MPOWER (control tobacco), Active (increase physical activity), SHAKE (reduce salt consumption) and REPLACE (eliminate trans fat) – the Initiative aims to improve heart health worldwide. The HEARTS technical package itself gives guidance on more effectively detecting and treating people with hypertension in primary health care.