World Health Day (WHD) is celebrated on April 7th to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO in 1948. Each year a theme is selected for World Health Day that highlights a priority area of public health concern in the world.
The theme for 2013 is high blood pressure.
- Goals for World Health Day are greater awareness, healthy behaviours, improved detection, and enabling environments.
- The ultimate goal of World Health Day 2013 is to reduce heart attacks and strokes.
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. According to the 2007 Arkansas Cardiovascular Health Examination Survey (ARCHES) 48.3% of Arkansans have high blood pressure. 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.