According to the new WHO report, World Health Statistics 2012, every third adult person in the world has high blood pressure, and one in ten suffers from diabetes.
The new WHO statistics, which cover 194 countries, show increased rates of high blood pressure and diabetes and a significant increase in other risk factors for chronic diseases.
Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, says this report presents new data on the sharp increase in states leading to the development of heart diseases and other chronic illnesses, especially in low-and middle-income countries. She claims that in some African countries, up to half of all adults have high blood pressure.
In high-income countries, where diagnosis and low-cost treatment are more available, average blood pressure rate has decreased significantly, which contributed to a decrease in mortality from heart disease. But in Africa, more than 40% of adults allegedly have high blood pressure. Most of them remain undiagnosed, though many of these cases could be treated with inexpensive drugs that could significantly reduce the risk of death and disability from heart diseases and stroke. The prevalence of diabetes among low-income population is also very high. Without timely treatment, diabetes can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, blindness, and kidney failure.
Another significant problem is obesity. Ties Boerma, Director of the Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems, claims that from 1980 to 2000, in every region of the world obesity rates have doubled. Today, half a billion people (12% of the world’s population) suffer from obesity. The highest rates of obesity are observed in the WHO American Region (26% of the adult population) and the lowest ones are in South-East Asia (3%). Moreover, women are more likely to get obese than men are, and so they have a higher risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.