Hypertension, an underrated and under-treated problem

15 May 2023

17 May is World Hypertension Day, a day t to draw worldwide attention to (too) high blood pressure. Does that sound like a 'trivial' problem? Not if you know that every year 17 million people die of cardiovascular diseases, with an estimated 10 million deaths partly caused by hypertenstion. UZ Leuven herefore rightly calls on patients, visitors and staff to have their blood pressure measured free of charge on this day.

Illustratie hypertensie

17 May is World Hypertension Day.

Silent killer

Hypertension or a blood pressure that is too hight is one of the most frequent disorders in the world. More than a billion people suffer from it, and up to one in three adults will experience high blood pressure during their life. There are often no clear symptoms, which makes that hypertension is sometimes called a 'silent killer'. Blood pressure that is too high is a considerable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, which in turn is a major cause of mortality and loss of quality of life. 

Invisible disorder

Even though high blood pressure is easy to determine and treat, it still remains an underrated and under-treated medical problem. Hypertension will often stay under the radar: half of the people with high blood pressure do not know they are suffering from it and are not, or not sufficiently being treated. For persons that do know they have a high blood pressure, only one in two will be given an adapted treatment, and half of those is monitored insufficiently. So there is a lot of work to be done!

With the information campaign in the hospital we want to raise awareness for the importance of a healthy blood pressure. By detecting and treating high blood pressure, a lot of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented.
Prof. dr. Thomas Vanassche, cardiologist

Simple treatment

Are you having your blood pressure measured at the information booth during World Hypertension Day on 17 May? Or are you planning to see your GP later for a measurement? Knowing your blood pressure is an easy way to look after your health. A blood pressure that is too high can in time damage your heart and arteries, so in case of increased values it's best to discuss this with your doctor. High blood pressure is certainly no cause for panic. 

Usually hypertension can very easily be treated. A healthier lifestyle - exercise more, stop smoking, limit alcohol, Een gezondere levensstijl – meer bewegen, stoppen met roken, alcohol beperken, eat more low-salt food – can sometimes help to lower your blood pressure, and contributes anyhow to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. However, people with a very healthy lifestyle can also have a high blood pressure. In addition to a healthy lifestyle, blood pressure lowering medication can often prove to be a solution. 

Always check with your doctor what treatment will suit you best. 

Last edit: 23 April 2024