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WHO 2013 Global Hypertension Brief

Written By: 
Marc Blitstein / President & CEO

This past April, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated their annual World Health Day in order to draw international attention to important global health issues. Each year, the WHO highlights a different global health concern. We find it noteworthy that the focus this year is on controlling high blood pressure.

As part of their efforts, the WHO released a new publication, “A Global Brief on Hypertension,” which is now available as a free download at the official WHO website. The brief describes how hypertension is contributing to the growing burden of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure and premature death and disability. The WHO authors explain how hypertension is both preventable and treatable and provides guidance on how governments, health workers, civil society, the private sector and individuals can reduce hypertension and its impact.

In reviewing the Global Brief, there were several key points we found interesting. First is the magnitude of the issue - hypertension now affects over one billion people worldwide. Of particular interest to us, as a leading manufacturer of professional blood pressure instruments, was the commentary related to blood pressure measurement and the diagnosis of hypertension.

The Advantage Ultra home blood pressure unit helps track blood pressure at home for better hypertension management.

One point that stood out to us was that “WHO recommends the use of affordable and reliable electronic devices that have the option to select manual readings.” That is a significant endorsement for the few devices that can perform both automated and manual BP measurements. ADC manufactures two such equipped instruments – the first of their kind in the industry – our E-Sphyg 2 NIBP monitor and the Adview Modular Diagnostic Station.

The WHO also mentions the challenges of in-office BP measurement, specifically citing White-Coat hypertension, and suggests “measuring blood pressure while at home using a machine to measure blood pressure several times a day.” They later state that “blood pressure measurements need to be recorded for several days before a diagnosis of hypertension can be made” and go on to describe a protocol very similar to published guidelines for home or self BP monitoring presented by both the American Society of Hypertension1 and the European Society of Hypertension2. Again, ADC has a solution. We offer 9 different home blood pressure monitors – from basic manual instruments requiring the use of a stethoscope, to fully automated upper arm and wrist models. Our most advanced units feature software that permits data capture and trending - of far greater value to health professionals than individual readings.

If you have thoughts or comments on the WHO’s Global Brief on Hypertension or the role of ABPM in controlling high blood pressure, we’d love to hear from you and invite you to share your comments here.

  1. 1. T Pickering and WB White, ASH Position Paper: Home and Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring. "When and how to use self and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring." Journal of the American Society of Hypertension (2008): 119-124.
  2. 2. G Parati, GS Stergiou et al. "European Society of Hypertension Practice Guidelines for home blood pressure monitoring." Journal of Human Hypertension (2010): 24, 779-785.
  3. 3. J Hodgkinson et al. "ABPM is best for diagnosing in primary care." Practitioner 255 (Oct 2011): 21-23.
  4. 4. TD Giles et al. "Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring should be included in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES)." Journal of the American Society of Hypertension 6, no. 5 (2012): 364-366.