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Large rise in global hypertension

Wednesday August 25th 2021

New figures, reported today, show a sharp rise in global hypertension rates in the last 30 years, with a high proportion of cases going untreated.

The analysis was carried out by Professor Majid Ezzati, of Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues. They looked at hypertension rates in 200 countries.

Findings appear in The Lancet today. They show that in 2019, more than half of the 1,278 people with hypertension worldwide were not receiving treatment.

The study covered adults aged 30 to 79 years and used blood pressure measurements from more than 100 million people.

Overall hypertension rates doubled from an estimated 331 million women and 317 million men in 1990, to 626 million women and 652 million men in 2019. Blood pressure was controlled with medication in fewer than 25% of women and 20% men.

Prevalence rates have decreased in many high-income countries including Canada, Switzerland, the UK and Spain. However, rates remain high in low- and middle-income countries such as sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania, and central European countries such as Paraguay, Hungary, Poland, and Croatia.

Successful diagnostic and treatment approaches are seen in Costa Rica, Chile, Turkey, Kazakhstan and South Africa - largely due to the expansion of universal health coverage - and the authors urge other countries to follow suit.

Professor Ezzati said: “Despite medical and pharmacological advances over decades, global progress in hypertension management has been slow.

“Our analysis has revealed good practice in diagnosing and treating hypertension not just in high-income countries but also in middle-income countries. Preventing high blood pressure and improving its detection, treatment, and control are feasible across low- and middle-income settings if international donors and national governments commit to addressing this major cause of disease and death.”

Lancet 25 August 2021

[abstract]

Tags: Heart Health | UK News | World Health

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