High blood pressure 'affects 1.13bn people worldwide'

21 November 2016

The number of people worldwide affected by high blood pressure has reached 1.13 billion, according to new international research.

Led by scientists at Imperial College London and backed by the World Health Organization, the report showed that the number of people with high blood pressure has nearly doubled in the last 40 years.

Examining blood pressure measurements from nearly 20 million people, average blood pressure readings were shown to have dropped sharply in high-income countries, while rising in low and middle-income countries, especially those in Africa and South Asia.

Encouragingly for Britons, the UK was found to be the European country with the lowest proportion of people with high blood pressure in 2015, while South Korea, the US and Canada had the lowest rates in the world.

This may be due to overall better health, new therapies and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables in these countries, but the report nevertheless shows that more action is needed to ensure these benefits are felt worldwide.

Professor Majid Ezzati, senior author of the study at the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: "We need economic means and regulation to improve access to high-quality food … and reduce excessive salt in food. We also need a stronger healthcare system to identify people with high blood pressure earlier and improve access to treatment."

Posted by Edward Bartel

 


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