International Society of Hypertension

World Hypertension Day 2015 - 17 May

Celebrate World Hypertension Day (WHD) on 17 May and contribute to improving awareness of Hypertension. For the five-year period 2013-2018, the theme of WHD will be ‘Know Your Numbers’ with the goal of increasing high blood pressure awareness in all populations around the world.

From the World Hypertension League: Norm Campbell, President, Daniel Lackland, President-Elect, Kimbree Redburn, Population Health and Economics Specialist,  Gilda Caputo-Hansen, Corporate and Community Relations Liaison, and Mark Niebylski, Chief Executive Officer

Each year since 2006 on May 17th, the World Hypertension League (WHL), in close partnership with the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) and other organizations, has hosted World Hypertension Day (WHD).  For the five-year period 2013-2018, the theme of WHD will be ‘Know Your Numbers’ with the goal of increasing high blood pressure awareness in all populations around the world.  

This decision was based on the global statistics, indicating that only 50% of those with hypertension were aware they actually had it and that only a few populations had an awareness rate of more than 75%.  And in some populations, awareness is very low, less than 10%. To increase awareness of hypertension diagnosis, there are two critical components, namely: 1) establish high capacity community screening programs for blood pressure in those at risk and 2) have all health care professionals routinely assess blood pressure at all clinical encounters.  The WHL will work with member societies and partners to implement these strategies globally.

In 2014, the inaugural WHD campaign encouraged WHL members and partners to screen and submit blood pressure (BP) readings for over 100,000 people.  Notably the 2014 goal was not only achieved but far-surpassed with over 300,000 being screened in over 30 nations (http://www.whleague.org/index.php/features/world-hypertension-day-report-draft).  Encouraged by the success and learnings from 2014, the World Hypertension League challenge is to screen over one million people for WHD-2015 in alliance with heightened awareness of non-communicable diseases (NCD) and to make plans for an even greater screening challenge in 2016.  The WHL encourages all national hypertension organizations and other health related organizations to contribute reports on blood pressure screenings recorded between April 17th and May 17th 2015.  An autofill template for BP screenings, photographs, and key lessons learned with an auto-submit button will be available on the WHL website (www.whleague.org).  Further information can be obtained from Kimbree Redburn, WHL Population Health and Economics Specialist (kimbree.redburn@gmail.com), and Gilda Caputo-Hansen, WHD coordinator (gilda@hansenglobalevents.com).  An alternate, back-up method of reporting will also be made available which will allow for submitting word files with attachments via email to CEO@whleague.org.  Where feasible, participants will be asked to provide information on: 1) team name/location/nation/logo or flag performing the screening, 2) number of people screened,  3) proportion of those screened with elevated blood pressure or who were taking antihypertensive medications (prevalent hypertension), 4) proportion of those screened with elevated blood pressure or who were taking antihypertensive medications or who were diagnosed with hypertension by a health care professional  5) proportion with prevalent hypertension who were not aware of having hypertension, 6) proportion with prevalent hypertension who were treated with antihypertensive medications, and 7) proportion of those with prevalent hypertension whose blood pressure reading was below 140 systolic and below 90 mmHg diastolic.  Ultimately, the WHL will issue a formal report on WHD-2015 highlighting all contributors and key indicators.

The WHL has developed a series of resources to aid community based blood pressure screening.  In 2015, the resources are being field tested in Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Haiti, Brazil and Canada with enhanced versions expected in 2016. Concurrently, several of the resources are being translated (initially in Spanish, French and Portuguese).   These WHL resources are available to all to access and adopt to their population through the WHL website (http://www.whleague.org/index.php/j-stuff/blood-pressure-assessment-train-the-trainer) and include a train the trainer module for establishing an evidence based BP screening site, a supporting PowerPoint slide set, and supporting YouTube videos.  The WHL has also developed a policy statement to strongly encourage the use of automated blood pressure devices rather than manual blood pressure readings in nearly all screening and clinical settings. 

An important initial step to control hypertension and help achieve the United Nations 2025 goal of a 25% reduction in uncontrolled hypertension is markedly improving the proportion of those with hypertension who are diagnosed.  Enhanced BP screenings to include participation in WHD-2015 and working with the WHL and ISH will contribute to achieving this goal.

The WHL also recognizes that there are complex challenges to prevention and control of hypertension globally.  However, in most settings, efforts to prevent and control hypertension are not comprehensive nor coordinated.  In 2015, the WHL also challenges all member societies and partners to participate in the World Hypertension Day celebration with rigorous blood pressure measurement efforts in the community and clinical settings, and to report the results of the screening activities. We look forward to reporting the results of 2015 WHD.  

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