Research Press Release

Health: Global blood pressure targets may reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases

Nature Medicine

July 19, 2022

Between 76 million and 130 million deaths from cardiovascular diseases could be averted globally between 2022 and 2050 if global hypertension targets of 80% screened, 80% receiving treatment and 80% achieving guideline-based blood pressure levels are attained, according to a modeling study in Nature Medicine.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is the leading modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and associated mortality. Cost-effective interventions for prevention and management exist; however, scaling these up to national and global levels has not been a political priority in many countries.

Sarah Pickersgill and colleagues propose that countries adopt an 80-80-80 target for national hypertension policies: 80% of people with hypertension are screened and aware of their diagnosis; 80% of those who are aware are prescribed treatment; and 80% of those on treatment have achieved recommended guideline-specified blood pressure levels. The authors modeled the impacts of three scenarios of hypertension control in 182 countries in the context of these targets: business as usual (with no additional attempts to scale up diagnosis and treatment); progress (progress matches historically well-performing countries); and aspirational (progress is faster than historically well-performing countries). The team estimated that 4–7% (76–130 million) of all-cause deaths could be averted in the progress and aspirational scenarios respectively by 2050. The largest gains would be realised in the poorest countries, where hypertension intervention coverage is currently low. Most countries would be able to achieve an 80-80-80 target by 2040 in the aspirational scenario.

The authors conclude that achieving 80-80-80 targets for hypertension worldwide could represent one of the single most important global public health accomplishments of the coming decades. Implementation of such a strategy, they state, could substantially reduce global inequalities in CVD outcomes.


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