The World Stroke Organization has welcomed the provision of new global guidance on the management of hypertension. The WHO Guideline for the pharmacological treatment of hypertension in adults provides new recommendations to help countries improve the management of hypertension.
Hypertension represents the single leading risk factor for stroke and, speaking on behalf of WSO Global Policy Committee, Prof Valery Feigin highlighted the importance of management of hypertension, independent of overall cardiovascular risk ‘The current high risk cardiovascular prevention strategy approach is based on overall cardiovascular disease risk and individuals with isolated blood pressure of 140/90 or even greater may not be treated with anti-hypertensive medications, because their absolute individual 5 year risk is less than 15 yet even mildly elevated systolic blood pressure is accountable for 60% of [global] stroke burden and therefore should be addressed appropriately.’
Dr Taskeen Khan, of WHO’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases, who led the guideline development, said: “The new global guideline on the treatment of hypertension, the first in 20 years, provides the most current and relevant evidence-based guidance on the initiation of medicines for hypertension in adults.”
The recommendations cover the level of blood pressure to start medication, what type of medicine or combination of medicines to use, the target blood pressure level, and how often to have follow-up checks on blood pressure. In addition, the guideline provides the basis for how physicians and other health workers can contribute to improving hypertension detection and management.
Dr Bente Mikkelsen, Director of WHO’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases highlighted the potential impact of the recommendations on individual lives and global development. Highlighting “The need to better manage hypertension cannot be exaggerated. By following the recommendations in this new guideline, increasing and improving access to blood pressure medication, identifying and treating comorbidities such as diabetes and pre-existing heart disease, promoting healthier diets and regular physical activity, and more strictly controlling tobacco products, countries will be able to save lives and reduce public health expenditures.”
WHO Global Hypertension Facts & Figures
- Over 700 million people are living with untreated hypertension
- Around 580 million people are living with undiagnosed hypertension
- The number of people living with hypertension has doubled to 1.28 billion since 1990
- Hypertension is accountable for 48% of stroke incidence
Download the WHO Hypertension Factsheeet
WSO Patient Resources
Patient information leaflets on the top ten risk factors for stroke and individual strategies for prevention can be found on the World Stroke Campaign website