More than 700 million people with untreated hypertension

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Number of people living with hypertension has doubled to 1.28 billion since 1990.

The number of adults aged 30–79 years with hypertension has increased from 650 million to 1.28 billion in the last thirty years, according to the first comprehensive global analysis of trends in hypertension prevalence, detection, treatment and control, led by Imperial College London and WHO, and published on August 26 in The Lancet. Nearly half these people did not know they had hypertension.

Hypertension significantly increases the risk of heart, brain and kidney diseases, and is one of the top causes of death and disease throughout the world. It can be easily detected through measuring blood pressure, at home or in a health centre, and can often be treated effectively with medications that are low cost.

The study, conducted by a global network of physicians and researchers, covered the period 1990–2019. It used blood pressure measurement and treatment data from over 100 million people aged 30–79 years in 184 countries, together covering 99 per cent of the global population, which makes it the most comprehensive review of global trends in hypertension to date.

By analysing this massive amount of data, the researchers found that there was little change in the overall rate of hypertension in the world from 1990 to 2019, but the burden has shifted from wealthy nations to low- and middle-income countries. The rate of hypertension has decreased in wealthy countries – which now typically have some of the lowest rates – but has increased in many low- or middle-income countries.

As a result, Canada, Peru and Switzerland had among the lowest prevalence  in the world in 2019, while some of the highest rates were seen in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Paraguay for women and Hungary, Paraguay and Poland for men.

Although the percent of people who have high blood pressure has changed little since 1990, the number of people with hypertension doubled to 1.28 billion. This was primarily due to population growth and ageing. In 2019, over one billion people with hypertension – 82 per cent of all people with hypertension in the world – lived in low- and middle-income countries.


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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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