While the prevalence of hypertension has increased by nearly 8% from 2000 to 2010 in middle- and lower-income countries (LMICs), higher-income countries saw a 3% drop in the same time period. Worldwide, the number of people affected by hypertension has reached a record high according to a new study in the medical journal Circulation.
The authors analyzed the data from 960.000 participants in over 90 countries and found that more than 30% of the world’s adult population (1.4 billion people) suffered from high blood pressure in 2010. Of those with hypertension, more than 75% lived in LMICs. In LMICs only 38% were aware of their condition, 29% received treatment and only 8% controlled their blood pressure. People in high-income countries in comparison have a 67% awareness rate, 56% receive treatment and 28% control their blood pressure.
The study also found that in 2010, East Asia and the Pacific region had the greatest absolute burden of hypertension with 439 million people affected by the condition. It is the same region that suffered the highest increases in the absolute burden of hypertension as there lived an additional 108 million men and 95.1 million women with hypertension, in comparison with 2000.
Senior study author Dr. Jiang He at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine said that aging populations and urbanization, together with a change in lifestyle leading to higher intake of sodium, fat and calories and a lack of physical activity may play an important role in the epidemic of hypertension.
The study confirms NCDAPA’s urgent calls for concerted action on government- and civil society-level to face the surging epidemic of hypertension. Cost-effective strategies for lowering the hypertension prevalence include the reduction of population intake of salt/sodium, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity as well as overweight and obesity. It is time to act, especially in the Asia Pacific, which bears the brunt of an ever increasing hypertension prevalence.
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