World Health Day
is celebrated on 7 April
to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948.
The theme for 2013 is
high blood pressure.
About high blood pressure
High blood pressure – also known as raised blood pressure or hypertension – increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. If left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can also cause blindness, irregularities of the heartbeat and heart failure. The risk of developing these complications is higher in the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes. One in three adults worldwide has high blood pressure. The proportion increases with age, from 1 in 10 people in their 20s and 30s to 5 in 10 people in their 50s. Prevalence of high blood pressure is highest in some low-income countries in Africa, with over 40% of adults in many African countries thought to be affected.
However, high blood pressure is both preventable and treatable. In some developed countries, prevention and treatment of the condition, together with other cardiovascular risk factors, has brought about a reduction in deaths from heart disease. The risk of developing high blood pressure can be reduced by:
- reducing salt intake;
- eating a balanced diet;
- avoiding harmful use of alcohol;
- taking regular physical activity;
- maintaining a healthy body weight; and
- avoiding tobacco use.
Goals: Greater awareness, healthy behaviours, improved detection, and enabling environments
The ultimate goal of World Health Day 2013 is to reduce heart attacks and strokes. Specific objectives of the campaign are:
- to raise awareness of the causes and consequences of high blood pressure;
- to provide information on how to prevent high blood pressure and related complications;
- to encourage adults to check their blood pressure and to follow the advice of health-care professionals;
- to encourage self-care to prevent high blood pressure;
- to make blood pressure measurement affordable to all; and
- to incite national and local authorities to create enabling environments for healthy behaviours.