Hypertension is classified as the greatest worldwide health risk

Hypertension is classified as the greatest worldwide health risk

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Hypertension: increased risk of death from complications

People around the world are currently worried about the spread of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) currently classifies high blood pressure (hypertension) as the greatest global health risk.

Despite millions of sufferers, high blood pressure (arterial hypertension) is still often underestimated. Because many people do not know that high blood pressure is the cause of an increased risk of death from complications such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. The WHO currently classifies hypertension as the greatest global health risk. This is what the German High Pressure League e.V.

Strokes and heart attacks are often due to high blood pressure

At the moment, the corona pandemic is taking a back seat to other serious medical conditions such as strokes and heart attacks, which are often due to high blood pressure.

In Germany, more than 45,000 people die from a heart attack and more than 27,000 people from a stroke every year - and around half of these diseases are attributable to arterial hypertension.

As a result, hypertension causes almost five times as many deaths each year as Germany has so far as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (as of May 12, 2020: 7,500 COVID-19 victims).

Almost every third adult has values ​​that are too high

According to the high pressure league, almost every third adult in this country has blood pressure levels that are too high. On average, every second person over the age of 60 is affected and therefore has a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular and vascular diseases.

As the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) explains on the portal "", constantly increasing blood pressure can favor cardiovascular diseases and lead to organ damage.

Possible secondary diseases of high blood pressure are therefore circulatory disorders in the legs (PAD), heart muscle weakness (heart failure), heart attack, stroke and kidney damage.

The high death rate, massive restrictions on the quality of life due to complications from high blood pressure and the associated burdens on the health budget could be significantly reduced.

Because although hypertension is not curable, effective prevention and consistent treatment can reduce the dangerous consequences such as cardiovascular diseases, kidney failure and dementia.

Hypertension remains symptom-free for a long time

The problem is that high blood pressure is symptom-free for a long time. Affected people have no complaints and usually do not check their blood pressure regularly.

If - often by chance - elevated values ​​are found, many do not take the recommendations for lowering blood pressure seriously enough and do not worry about the possible consequences.

“A little too high blood pressure” is often dismissed as a condition disorder, just knowing about the dangers hardly motivates to take active action.

However, the longer hypertension remains undetected and untreated, the higher the likelihood of blood pressure-related organ damage to the heart, brain and kidneys, as well as the increased risk of death. However, this is not sufficiently addressed as a problem by society.

Change of lifestyle

An urgent change in lifestyle is already indicated at a limit of 130/80 mmHg.

Above all, more physical exercise, a more balanced diet, less alcohol, stress reduction and, ideally, no more smoking are the most important factors that each person affected can individually influence in order to significantly reduce blood pressure.

For values ​​measured over a longer period of time from 140/90 mmHg, medication should also be started, according to the German High Pressure League.

There are numerous antihypertensive preparations that can be well tolerated, individually adapted and combined.

Many sufferers do not take their medication regularly

Another high hurdle on the way to permanently well-adjusted blood pressure is in many cases the patient's adherence to therapy.

Once suitable therapeutic measures have been initiated, it is important that the patients actually take the prescribed medication.

“Because the effect of lowering blood pressure only lasts as long as the tablets are taken regularly. The disease is chronic and the therapy must therefore be continued permanently and conscientiously, ”explains Professor Ulrich Wenzel, CEO of DHL.

But not all of those affected can do this to a sufficient extent. Only two out of three treated patients manage to adjust their blood pressure to the target value. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • German high pressure league: "Pressure down. Feel good! ”- World Hypertension Day 2020, (accessed: May 13, 2020), German Hypertension League
  • Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG): high blood pressure (hypertension), (access: May 13, 2020),

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