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World Health Day: Half of over 50s have high blood pressure but most don't know it

20 Mar 2013

An older woman in Gaza gets her blood pressure checked at a mobile clinic for World Health Day 2012This World Health Day (7 April) is an important day in the Age Demands Action (ADA) calendar, as it is one of the few days of the year where health is at the top of the international agenda.

On this day, ADA campaigners around the world set about reminding their governments of the health pledges made in previous years.

As the theme for World Health Day this year is hypertension (or high/raised blood pressure), many campaigners will be addressing this issue, asking their governments or health services not to overlook the detrimental effects of this extremely prevalent non-communicable disease.

Despite it being easily preventable and treatable, hypertension causes around half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease.

Yet shockingly, although it affects half of all adults in their fifties worldwide, more than half of these people are not aware they have it.

In short, people are dying unnecessarily from the effects of something they may not even know they have.

Using World Health Day to raise awareness

On World Health Day this year, ADA campaigners will be raising awareness about hypertension in their communities, with many asking their governments to increase awareness through national information campaigns.

Several countries will be incorporating mobile blood pressure testing stations into their campaigns, testing older people in mobile clinics, in parks and on the street.

These actions will not only help raise awareness at a community level, but through national media coverage will exemplify just how easy it is to test for high blood pressure.

ADA campaigners hope to encourage their governments to step up their efforts in the prevention and treatment of hypertension.

What next?

Find out more about the global Age Demands Action movement.

Keep up to date with all our campaigns by signing up to our Age Demands Action eNewsletter.

Find out more about older people and non communicable diseases.

Download our position paper on older people and non communicable diseases.

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Author profile


Rose Lowe
Country: United Kingdom
Job title: Campaigns intern

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.