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World Hypertension Day - Get your blood pressure checked this month


Sophia Antipolis, 17 May 2017: Cardiology leaders are urging the public to have their blood pressure checked this month to prevent unnecessary heart attacks, strokes, and death. The call comes on World Hypertension Day, which is held annually on 17 May.

Get your blood pressure checked if you haven’t had it measured for at least one year

Around 10 million people die each year because of raised blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major cause of heart disease, stroke, vascular disease and kidney disease, and contributes to dementia. In older people it is a major cause of heart failure and atrial fibrillation.

“Hypertension is the most important cause of preventable death globally,” said Professor Bryan Williams, chairman of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Council on Hypertension. “Treatment substantially reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.”

Many people don’t know they have high blood pressure. There are no symptoms and some people only find out after they suffer a heart attack or stroke.

Professor Williams said: “One of the problems is that less than half the people with hypertension have had their blood pressure measured and their condition diagnosed. Of those who have been diagnosed, less than half are treated – so this is an enormous health issue.”

World Hypertension Day is an initiative of the World Hypertension League, an affiliated section of the International Society of Hypertension. This year’s theme is Know Your Numbers and the entire month has been designated May Measurement Month (MMM17).

The aim is to screen as many adults as possible who have not had their blood pressure measured for at least a year. This will reveal how big the problem is. The data will be used to show governments across the world why they need to improve blood pressure screening facilities and treatment.

To find your nearest MMM screening site, visit

“Knowing your blood pressure is important because we have very well tolerated, cheap and effective treatments that dramatically reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and death,” said Professor Williams.  

“If you have high blood pressure, see your doctor,” he continued. “There may be an underlying cause that can be identified and treated but for most people lifelong treatment is needed. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, moderating alcohol intake, eating a healthy diet, reducing salt intake, and regular exercise can reduce blood pressure. Many patients will also need blood pressure lowering medication.”(1)


Notes to editor

ESC Press Office
Tel: +33 (0) 4 89 87 34 83

(1)2013 ESH/ESC Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension. European Heart Journal. 2013;34:2159–2219. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/eht151

About the European Society of Cardiology

The ESC brings together health care professionals from more than 140 countries, working to advance cardiovascular medicine and help people to live longer, healthier lives.