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World Health Organization Issues Call to Action on High Blood Pressure

Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute says report shows importance of cardiovascular health

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a high blood pressure report saying 76 million lives can be saved worldwide through 2050 though prevention, early detection and effective management.

The importance of keeping your blood pressure under control took center stage again Tuesday when the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report saying 76 million lives can be saved worldwide through 2050 though prevention, early detection and effective management.

To put that number in perspective, that’s more people than live in a dozen eastern states from Maine southward, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Virginia.

Did you know?

In 2021, hypertension was a primary or contributing cause of 691,095 deaths in the United States. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The staggering numbers are another reminder of the incredible importance of cardiovascular health,” says Eric Elgin, MD, Chief, Division of Cardiology, Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute. “The Heart and Vascular Institute is among those at the forefront of research, but saving lives also is about awareness, education and partnering with your doctor. All are important.”

The WHO says high blood pressure – or hypertension – affects one in three people around the world. The ratio is the same in the U.S.

The WHO report says nearly half of people with hypertension globally are unaware of their condition. More than three-quarters of adults with hypertension live in low- and middle-income countries.

Doing more about high blood pressure not only saves lives, it also saves money. According to the WHO, the economic benefits of improved hypertension treat­ment programs outweigh the costs by about 18-to-1. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., taking a life every 33 seconds.


High blood pressure is often called a silent killer because you may not feel anything is wrong, but inside your arteries, damage may already be happening that could lead to serious health problems including:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease

The best prevention is knowing your blood pressure numbers and working with your doctor to keep them under control.

Blood pressure is shown as two numbers – an upper systolic (when your heart pumps) number and a lower diastolic (when your heart is at rest) number.

Normal blood pressure is when your systolic number is less than 120 and your diastolic number is less than 80, or less than 120/80.

Keeping your blood pressure in check is easier when you do the following:

  • Eat a low-salt, well-balanced diet
  • Limit alcohol
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Manage stress
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Take prescribed medication
Blood pressure

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against artery walls. It’s generated with each heartbeat. If you need care for hypertension, you’re in experienced hands at Lehigh Valley Heart Institute.

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