More Than 1 Billion People Are Living With High Blood Pressure Worldwide, Study Finds

Posted: Nov 16 2016, 11:31am CST | by , Updated: Nov 16 2016, 11:40am CST , in Latest Science News


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More than 1 Billion People are Living with High Blood Pressure Worldwide, Study Finds
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The prevalence of high blood pressure has dropped sharply in high-income countries while a rise has been observed in many low and middle income countries

The number of people with high blood has almost doubled worldwide.

The study, led by Imperial College London, reveals that a huge increase has been observed in the people with high blood pressure worldwide and the number has reached to 1.13 billion in 2015.

The first large-scale study of its kind demonstrates the rise in the prevalence of high blood pressure across the globe and also identifies the hotspots for the condition with the help of interactive maps.

For the study, researchers have studied blood pressure data of nearly 20 million people from every country in the past 40 years and observed the changes over time.

Researchers have found that high blood pressure is mostly affecting people living in low income countries while the rate has declined sharply in richer countries.

UK, Canada, USA, Australia, Peru, Singapore and South Korea had the lowest proportion of adults with high blood pressure in 2015. At the other extreme, low and middle income countries especially those in Africa and South Asia have seen a staggering rise in the condition between 1975 and 2015.

“High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for stroke and heart disease, and kills around 7.5 million people worldwide every year. Most of these deaths are experienced in the developing world.” Lead author Professor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London said.

The exact cause of this stark contrast in unclear. But researchers suspect that a combination of factors may have contributed to this trend such as inclusion of more healthy diet, earlier detection and management with medications and overall better health. These factors may have kept obesity under control, which is a risk factor for high blood pressure.

Conversely, poor nutrition in early life also increases the chances of developing high blood pressure in later years. Unbalanced nutrition is a major problem in low income countries, which may also explain the increased prevalence of high blood pressure in poor countries. Researchers have also found that the condition is more common in older population compared with younger people. Men had higher blood pressure than women in most regions when it comes to gender.

“Taken globally, high blood pressure is no longer a problem of the Western world or wealthy countries. It’s the problem of the world’s poorest countries and people,” said Ezzati. “Our results show that substantial reductions in blood pressure and prevalence are possible, as seen in high income countries over the past 40 years.”

Without effective policies, we are unlikely to achieve the World’s Health Organization’s target of reducing the prevalence of high blood pressure by 25 percent by 2025.

Interactive maps and individual country data is available here.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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