Over 30m Adults in Pakistan Suffering From High Blood Pressure: WHO

In its first-ever hypertension report titled “The Race Against a Silent Killer,” the World Health Organisation (WHO) sheds light on the alarming prevalence of high blood pressure in Pakistan. With over 30 million adults affected, hypertension has become a significant health concern in the country. This article explores the key findings and implications of the report, highlighting the urgent need for awareness and intervention.

The Silent Epidemic

Over 30m Adults in Pakistan Suffering From High Blood Pressure: WHO

According to the WHO report, out of the 32.2 million hypertensive individuals in Pakistan, only 44% have been officially diagnosed. This diagnosis gap includes 34% of men and 54% of women who are unaware of their condition. Even more concerning is the fact that merely 35% of those diagnosed receive treatment, and a mere 11% achieve control over their hypertension, with 8% among men and 14% among women.

Contributing Factors

The report delves into the factors contributing to this hypertension crisis. It reveals that daily salt consumption per capita stands at a staggering 9 grams, well above the recommended limits. Moreover, 21% of the population, including 34% of males and 8% of females, are smokers, further exacerbating cardiovascular risks. Physical inactivity is another alarming concern, with 34% of the Pakistani population reported as physically inactive, based on 2016 data.

Lack of Guidelines and Targets

The report emphasizes the absence of treatment guidelines for managing hypertension in Pakistan. Additionally, the country lacks a national target for blood pressure control, and salt consumption, and a functioning system for generating reliable cause-specific mortality data on a routine basis.

The Way Forward

To address this looming crisis, the WHO report suggests that achieving a 50% control rate would require effectively treating an additional 12.5 million hypertensive individuals. Such progress could potentially avert approximately 839,000 deaths by 2040.

Global Perspective

The report also places Pakistan’s situation in a global context. Worldwide, the number of people living with hypertension doubled between 1990 and 2019, reaching a staggering 1.3 billion individuals. Alarmingly, nearly half of these individuals are unaware of their condition. Moreover, over three-quarters of adults with hypertension reside in low and middle-income countries.


Hypertension, often referred to as a silent killer, is taking a severe toll on the health of millions of Pakistanis. Lifestyle factors, including high salt consumption, smoking, and physical inactivity, contribute significantly to the crisis. Urgent measures are needed, including the development of treatment guidelines, national targets, and robust data systems to monitor and manage hypertension effectively. Addressing this public health challenge is crucial to reducing the burden of cardiovascular diseases and improving the overall well-being of the population.

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