World Health Day is an annual event celebrated on April 7 to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. The purpose of World Health Day is to draw attention to particular priorities in global health, and this year’s focus is hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults worldwide – an estimated 68 million people – has high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure, and if left uncontrolled, can also cause blindness, irregularities of the heartbeat and heart failure. The risk of developing these complications is higher in the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes.
To help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, adults should consume less than 2,000 mg of sodium, or 5 grams of salt, and at least 3,510 mg of potassium per day, according to guidelines issued by WHO in January. These guidelines are an important tool for nurses as they work to address non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.
For more information about World Health Day, visit www.who.int.