September 29 is World Heart Day.
As per WHO’s The World health statistics 2012 report,one in six adults obese, one in 10 diabetic and one in three has raised blood pressure. Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO says “this report is further evidence of the dramatic increase in the conditions that trigger heart disease and other chronic illnesses, particularly in low and middle-income countries. In some African countries, as much as half the adult population has high blood pressure.”
In high-income countries, widespread diagnosis and treatment with low-cost medication have significantly reduced mean blood pressure across populations – and this has contributed to a reduction in deaths from heart disease. In Africa, however, more than 40% (and up to 50%) of adults in many countries are estimated to have high blood pressure. Most of these people remain undiagnosed, although many of these cases could be treated with low-cost medications, which would significantly reduce the risk of death and disability from heart disease and stroke.
Also included for the first time in the World health statistics 2012 are data on people with raised blood glucose levels. While the global average prevalence is around 10%, up to one third of populations in some Pacific Island countries have this condition. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, blindness and kidney failure.
Obesity another major issue
“In every region of the world, obesity doubled between 1980 and 2008,” says Dr Ties Boerma, Director of the Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems at WHO. “Today, half a billion people (12% of the world’s population) are considered obese.”
The highest obesity levels are in the WHO Region of the Americas (26% of adults) and the lowest in the WHO South-East Asia Region (3% obese). In all parts of the world, women are more likely to be obese than men, and thus at greater risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
Noncommunicable diseases currently cause almost two thirds of all deaths worldwide. Global concern about the rise in numbers of deaths from heart and lung disease, diabetes and cancer prompted the United Nations to hold a high-level meeting on noncommunicable diseases in New York in September 2011.
The World Health Assembly, to be held in Geneva from 21 to 26 May 2012, will review progress made since that meeting and agree on next steps. Work is currently under way to develop a global monitoring framework and a set of voluntary targets for prevention and control of these diseases.
Published annually by WHO, the World health statistics is the most comprehensive publication of health-related global statistics available. It contains data from 194 countries on a range of mortality, disease and health system indicators including life expectancy, illnesses and deaths from a range of diseases, health services and treatments, financial investment in health, as well as risk factors and behaviours that affect health. Find out how to prevent diabetes, heart attacks and hypertension.