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Living with hypertension
You can find all the necessary information to understand hypertension, its global impact, its causes and consequences, and how to get hypertension under control.

Why get checked?

A silent disease

Hypertension is usually discovered fortuitously during a routine examination, but the first time someone finds out that they have high blood pressure is often when they are taken to hospital because it has led to a stroke or a heart problem.

Indeed, hypertension is said to be a silent disease that can be fatal, because it often has no warning signs or symptoms. Yet up half to the people with hypertension may be unaware they have it, as they do not exhibit signs or symptoms. This is why hypertension is considered as a global public health issue.
The only way to know whether a person has hypertension is by having their blood pressure checked.For that very reason, it is recommended that you get your blood pressure checked routinely at least every 5 years if you are over 40 years of age, or more often if you have high blood pressure, in accordance with your health care team.1,2,3

1.13 Billion

Around the world, hypertension affects about 1.27 billion people.4

50 %4

Of people with hypertension don’t know they have it.

27 3974

Deaths / day.


Deaths worldwide.

How can hypertension affect your body?

When you have hypertension, your heart has to work harder to ensure the flow of blood around your body. Over time, this high pressure can gradually weaken your heart and damage artery walls, leading to changes in blood flow. All these situations lead to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (stroke, heart disease, and heart failure). Other parts of the body, including the kidneys, limbs, and eyes, may also suffer damage.5

Causes of hypertension

Sometimes other diseases can worsen or impact a primary disease. These other diseases are what we call comorbid diseases. Hypertension has its own set of “bad friends”, the main ones being:
high levels of LDL-cholesterol in the blood are associated with an increased risk of CVDs, such as atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.9
Type 2 diabetes mellitus
elevated blood sugar levels over a prolonged period of time lead to complications such as stroke, foot ulcers, and eye damage.10
Coronary artery disease
atherosclerosis (the presence of cholesterol plaques) in the coronary arteries limits the blood flow to the heart, which leads to a lack of oxygen for myocardial cells. A common symptom is chest pain, angina, which often occurs during exercise.11
Chronic kidney disease
when kidneys do not function properly over months or years, this can lead to complications such as cardiovascular disease, anemia (ie, red cells in the blood are either insufficient, or they don’t function properly), or pericarditis (ie, inflammation of the pericardium, the sac-like tissue that surrounds the heart, holds it in place and helps it to work).12,13

Once you know that you have high blood pressure, the good news is that you and your doctor can take steps to control it.

"How often should I see my GP about hypertension?"
Depending on your age, once every 2 years is considered adequate. Still, if you are over 40 years of age, once a year is a safer option. If you have already been diagnosed with abnormal blood pressure, tests should be more frequent, as per your doctor’s recommendations.14

Show references


Williams B et al. Eur Heart J. 2018;39(33):3021-3104. World Health Organisation. A global brief on hypertension Silent killer, public health crisis.. Published April 2013. Accessed
NHS. Atherosclerosis (arteriosclerosis). 2019. Available at Accessed on
Ajar R. Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease: Historical Perspectives. Heart Views. 2017; 18(3): 109–114
Deshpande AD, Harris-Hayes M, Schootman M. Epidemiology of diabetes and diabetes-related complications. Phys Ther. 200;88(11):1254-64
National Institute of Health – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Ischemic Heart Disease. Available at topics/ischemic-heart-disease Accessed on
Vaidya SR, Aeddula NR. Chronic Renal Failure. StatPearls Publishing; 2019.
Mayo Clinic. Blood pressure test. 2018. Accessed on