(Bloomberg) -- The number of people living with high blood pressure has doubled to 1.3 billion in almost three decades, according to a World Health Organization report showing that better treatment could avert 76 million deaths by 2050. 

“Hypertension-control programs remain neglected, under-prioritized and vastly underfunded,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement Tuesday. 

Affecting a third of adults and often referred to as a silent killer because it doesn’t necessarily present with obvious symptoms, high blood pressure can cause strokes, heart attacks and kidney damage. 

Some simple, low cost medicines can bring it under control but almost half of people living with hypertension are unaware of their condition. More than three quarters of them live in low- and middle-income countries, according to the Geneva-based agency.

The WHO released the report during the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, which is evaluating progress on sustainable-development goals such as ending tuberculosis and attaining universal health coverage. 



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