More than 1 billion people globally are living with high blood pressure
In 2015, there were 1.13 billion people living with high blood pressure worldwide, with the majority of them in low and middle-income countries.
The findings come from a new study published Tuesday in The Lancet, which found that the number of people affected by high blood pressure has almost doubled over the past 40 years.
In most countries, men were found to have higher blood pressure than women.
The study highlighted a stark contrast between where people are most affected, with high-income countries showing a sharp decline in blood pressure among their populations in recent decades, while low- and middle-income countries have seen numbers spike — particularly in South Asia and Africa.
“When you look at this globally, blood pressure is a condition of poverty, not affluence,” said Majit Ezzati, professor of global environmental health at Imperial College London, who led the analysis. “The relationship with national income is completely inverse.”
The difference was made more evident by that fact that half of the world’s adults with high blood pressure in 2015 were living in Asia.
The United States, Canada and South Korea had the lowest rates in the world, while the UK had the lowest proportion of people with raised blood pressure in Europe.
“In the high-income world … (rates) are coming down despite the aging and increasing population,” Ezzati said. “But in the population (in Asia), as the age goes up, the blood pressure tends to be higher.”
He adds that this is most likely down to differences between these populations in terms of healthy food options but also access to health services providing diagnosis and treatment.