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Heart disease

Cardiovascular diseases account for most NCD deaths, or 17.5 million people annually, according to the WHO.

The GACD funds research into prevention and treatment of Hypertension on low- and middle-income countries.  Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure, putting them under increased stress. Each time the heart beats; it pumps blood into the vessels, which carry the blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is created by the force of blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) as the heart pumps it. The higher the pressure, the harder the heart has to pump.

In nearly all high-income countries, widespread diagnosis and treatment with low-cost medication have led to a significant drop in the proportion of people with raised blood pressure, as well as the average blood pressure across populations – and this has contributed to a reduction in deaths from heart disease. For example, the prevalence of raised blood pressure in the WHO region of the Americas in 2014 was 18%, as compared to 31% in 1980.

In contrast, low-income countries have the highest prevalence of raised blood pressure. In the WHO African region, more than 30% of adults in many countries are estimated to have high blood pressure and this proportion is increasing. Furthermore, the average blood pressure levels in this region are much higher than global averages.

Hypertension-image

Many people with high blood pressure in developing countries are not aware of their disease, and do not have access to treatments that could control their blood pressure and significantly reduce their risk of death and disability from heart disease and stroke. Detection, treatment and control of hypertension is an important health priority worldwide.

Globally, increased blood pressure is the leading cause of deaths and disability. An estimated 18% of deaths (9.4 million) and 162 million years of life lost were attributed to increased blood pressure in 2010.   One half of blood pressure related disease occurs in people with higher levels of blood pressure even within the normal range.  Hypertension now disproportionately impacts low and middle-income countries.

Source – WHO, World Hypertension League

GACD funded research