Publish date: 17 May 2021

UCLH Director of Research and Director of the UCLH BRC Professor Bryan Williams has received an award for outstanding contributions to research in the field of hypertension (high blood pressure) from the World Hypertension League (WHL) and World Health Organisation.

The announcement of the WHL Peter Sleight Excellence Award in Hypertension Clinical Research coincides with World Hypertension Day (17 May). It follows an announcement last week that Prof Williams has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Prof Williams – a Chair of Medicine at UCL and consultant physician at UCLH with a specialist interest in hypertension– has published extensively on hypertension, has chaired national and international guideline committees and is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading authorities in the field.

He has a particular interest in complex and difficult to control blood pressure and high blood pressure in younger people, and his research in a number of areas has directly changed in clinical practice globally.

Prof Williams said: “I’m delighted to accept this award and it is a special and humbling honour to receive an award nominated by colleagues from around the world. Research and clinical solutions for hypertension are crucial. It is notable that in a year that Covid tragically led to the loss of 3 million lives and brought the world to a standstill, high blood pressure accounts for 10 million deaths globally every year and barely anyone takes notice. High blood pressure is the most important cause of preventable early death globally and our projections are that it still be the most important cause of death in 2040.”

This theme of World Hypertension Day 2021 is Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer – with the goal of increasing high blood pressure (BP) awareness in all populations globally and a focus on accurate BP measurement.

“We know that most people with high blood pressure around the world have not been diagnosed – and many of those diagnosed are not receiving treatment,” Prof Williams said.

“Awareness of blood pressure and greater access to treatment are incredibly important, so that we can prevent progression to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, dementia and other conditions.

“Once someone has an accurate diagnosis, we have very effective and well tolerated treatments that can dramatically reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and problems in future, alongside lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating a healthy diet and moderating intake of alcohol, which all help.”

Read more about World Hypertension Day.