HOUSTON (KIAH) – According to available data, stroke kills more than 1,000 people every hour across the globe, and most of those strokes are caused by hypertension. That data has prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to sound the alarm to global leaders about the impact of hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, in a new report released in September.

WHO officials also warned most people with hypertension aren’t doing enough to treat it. Nearly half of people impacted don’t even know they have it. Cardiologist Leticia Castillo-Kontak, Baylor Scott and White, encouraged people to get screened.

“If we diagnose and treat hypertension early, we can prevent a lot of the complications that come with long-standing high blood pressure. It’s a simple test, and people can also check their blood pressure at home,” she said.

Dr. Leticia Castillo-Kontak recommended a diet lower in sodium, losing weight, and getting regular exercise as the first lines of defense against a hypertension diagnosis. Medications can also help.