By 2025 around 1.56 billion adults worldwide will probably have high blood pressure.

September 29, 2013 will mark the 13th World Heart Day event. Initiated in 2000 by the World Heart Federation (WHF), the event aims to inform people around the world that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year and the numbers are rising. The WHF says that by 2030, an expected 23 million people will die from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) each year.

This years’ World Heart Day theme addresses the importance of a life-course approach to the prevention and control of CVD with a focus on women and children. The campaign will highlight what actions can be taken during one’s life to reduce the risk of CVD. According to the WHF, “today we have an opportunity to prevent the future impact of heart disease and stroke by adopting heart-healthy living from childhood throughout adulthood.”

The WHF estimates that at least 970 million people worldwide have high blood pressure ─ about 330 million in the developed world and around 640 million in the developing world. The World Health Organization rates high blood pressure as one of the most important causes of premature death worldwide and the problem is growing. In 2025 it is estimated that 1.56 billion adults will have high blood pressure.

Hypertension is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The amount of blood pumped by the heart and the size and condition of the arteries determines your blood pressure. However, many other factors can affect blood pressure including the condition of the kidneys and levels of various hormones in the body. Some people have essential hypertension, which has no detectable cause. Origins may be genetic or due to your lifestyle including diet, weight and physical inactivity. Secondary hypertension is caused by another condition such as problems with kidneys, certain medicines and some other medical problems.

Every year on September 29 members and partners of the WHF mark World Heart Day by organizing national activities such as public talks and screenings, walks and runs, concerts or sporting events.

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